Letter: Walkathon to fund MHS track important

Dear Editor:
We all know that the Meeker School District is operating on a very limited budget. Therefore, I felt I could help raise the funds to redo our high school track.
Elementary school students are having a Junior Walkathon this Saturday in conjunction with Mrs. Vicky Tate’s 100-Mile Club. Alumni, coaches and the community will have the opportunity to take part in another walkathon on July 5. Your sponsorship and/or participation in either one if these events would be greatly appreciated. The following is a letter I wrote in support of the Meeker Educational Foundation’s application for grant money to help complete this project:
I am excited to have the opportunity to be able to express how important I feel our track and field is for not only our students in Meeker but the whole community. Forty years ago, when I started coaching in Meeker, it was only the second year for high school track for girls and the first year for junior high track.
That first year, almost every girl in the whole junior high came out for the track team. As you can imagine, because of the involvement it created a huge following. Today, we still have one of the largest percentages of our students participating in our track program for the size of the school. Sadly, because of the present condition of the track, we can no longer host track meets or even practice in certain lanes for fear of students being injured.
The reason I feel so strongly about repairing the track and field is because it used to be the pride and joy of our community. In the 1980s, when Superintendent Bob King had the foresight to apply for Mineral Leasing Impact Mitigation Funds to build a tartan surface track, we were one of the only high schools on the Western Slope with such a facility.
Because of our location and the quality of our new track, schools from Steamboat to Gunnison not only wanted to be invited to our track meets, but sometimes even hosted their meets here in Meeker. Of course, in the early years before any other schools had a tartan track, we were awarded the privilege to host not only the district meets but the state qualifying meets.
There are so many reason why we should support this project.
First because of the necessity of repairing our current track so not only do our athletes have a facility to practice on but the whole community can use it to improve everyone’s health.
Secondly, because it will be an economic generator when we once again can start hosting track meets. By doing so, we not only save our school and parents the expense of always having to travel but we are able to bring in money from the outside to help support our local businesses.
Being a former track coach and health and physical education teacher, I truly believe in the health benefits that can be derived from a much-needed and safe facility like we hope to build.
Without hesitation, I recommend the COCO give this application serious consideration for funding.
Debbie Cook