By TIFFANY RONEY
The Booster Club of Chapman has found a new direction. This new direction involves a line of t-shirts with the words, "Bleacher Creatures."
Darrin Volkman, the club’s new president as of summer 2013, said the club plans to maintain activity with high school students, and it is adding on to include younger participants.
"We want to make it a district-wide club to start at the elementary level to get the kids involved at a younger age and hopefully keep them through middle school into high school," Volkman said at USD 473’s board of education meeting Monday night.
Bruce Hurford, principal of Chapman Middle School, came up with the idea of selling the t-shirts to elementary students. With the purchase of the t-shirt, students receive a $1 discount on admission to high school and middle school games. They also receive the opportunity to participate in half-time activities.
Volkman then extended the program upward to high school students and downward through the elementary grades.
"To get more people to games is going to be our goal," Volkman said. "To any event, whether it's football, basketball, any event we can get more people in the stands."
Volkman said he and his committee hope to continue to expand the program, and they are seeking volunteers. For more information, call USD 473 at 785-922-6521.
Girls vs. boys
High school boys showed their commitment to athletics this summer by showing their best attendance in years at the school's summer training sessions. Shane Sundahl, athletic director of Chapman High School, said 35 boys achieved the goal of attending 80 percent of the sessions. The sessions took place on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with the option to "make up" missed sessions on Fridays.
"It's one of the best numbers we've had for a long time, so 30 boys was a really great attendance for that," Sundahl said.
The females, on the other hand, did not show up as often.
"Girls-wise, we had 21 that made it about half the time. We only had four girls who made it into the 80 percent range," Sundahl said.
Hurford: ‘Jump in with both feet’
While high school girls did not show as strong of attendance as the boys, Hurford said the middle school struggled with the participation of an entire grade: 7th grade.
"We struggle with getting our point across," Hurford said. "We try to communicate through many different ways - through letters and meetings with kids … and all our signs, and with their data with they go home with enrollment papers and little packages. We give them all this information about camps and what to do, but it seems like 7th grade is the grade of parents that they don't' feel like camps are that important."
Hurford said when CMS Girls Basketball Coach Derek Berns conducted a 7th grade basketball league in Clay Center, some of the players who signed up to play basketball in the league didn't attend camp.
"It's hard for him to understand, if you’re signing up to play in the summer, why wouldn't you come to summer camp?" Hurford said. "So, we'll just have to try to do a better job of communicating with our 6th grade students and 6th grade parents and let them know that they need to jump in with both feet once the school year's over.
"Other than that, we had a great turnout for the summer,” Hurford said.
Enrollment is up at Enterprise Elementary School and Blue Ridge Elementary School.
Sparks said 93 students are enrolled at Enterprise Elementary School for the 2013-2014 school year, and 88 are enrolled at Blue Ridge.
"Enterprise is the highest since I’ve been here, and Blue Ridge is the highest enrollment for the first day of school,” Sparks said.
Lacee Sell, superintendent of USD 473, announced before the regular meeting, during the annual budget meeting, that the district is decreasing its mil levy for the upcoming school year. Sell said the tax levy will be 49.48, which is a decrease of 2.168 from the 2012-2013 mil levy of 51.648. The 2011-2012 mil levy was 53.060.
"Thank you, board, for good work, and your assistance on this budgeting," Sell said. "Over the last three years, we have been able to decrease the tax rate by 3.58 mils, so that's huge in this economy. I thank you all for that."
The district will start school Thursday, August 15. Classes will be dismissed early, at 1 p.m. The board meets the second Monday of every month.