By Chea Waters Evans
After a four-year absence, baseball is back at Charlotte Central School, and a new sport is ready to go: track and field is now one of the school’s middle school spring sports offerings, joining the already-popular March volleyball team. After years of placing Charlotte students on teams throughout the school district, the two sports have finally received enough local momentum.
As the smallest school in the Champlain Valley School District, Charlotte often suffers from a lack of student population to make teams work, but is able to send students to other schools in the district, usually Hinesburg or Shelburne, for spring sport opportunities. CCS Athletic Director Mike Hulvey said that last year, a parent survey revealed “four 7/8 boys who wanted to play baseball, one fifth grade girl who signed up for track and field, and no girls who signed up for softball.” Much to his surprise, this year’s survey was entirely different: “We realized that there were quite a few boys (14) who were interested in baseball and the same thing with track and field (~30).” Though girls are welcome to play on the baseball team, none were interested.
The issue of financing was always a big one for CCS sports teams, but the school district consolidation was helpful in this case. Co-principal Jen Roth said that a combination of CVSD support and innovative thinking on the part of principals and parents will finance the new sports. “The school district budget includes funding for coaches for these sports for all of the K-8 schools,” she said. “Schools only access these funds when they have enough interest to field a team. Funding for everything else: equipment, uniforms, refs, and travel, comes from the principals’ account and must be prioritized against other CCS needs.” By using spare equipment from other schools in the district, a $300 grant from the CCS PTO, and some private donations within the school community, Roth said she anticipates being able to procure enough equipment and uniforms to make it work.
Runner, fifth grade teacher, and CCS cross-country coach David Baird will coach the track and field team, which is open to fifth through eighth grade students. He said the sport can “be fun for everyone, regardless of experience or ability. The season will begin on April 8th and will run through the end of May.”
The baseball coaching position has been posted on SchoolSpring, which is a requirement for all school positions. No interest has been indicated as of yet through the school community; if no one appropriate applies, parents Steve Magoon and Ethan Merrill have volunteered to step up to the plate (pun intended).
Roth quotes Helen Keller to explain the merits of the school, PTO, and parents coming together to provide as many opportunities for students: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”