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Hillsboro Hops donate thousands to Hillsboro schools

The Hops are the first to join a school district programs which pairs local businesses with extra-curricular activities.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Hillsboro Hops donated $24,000 to Hillsboro Schools on Friday, to help pay for extra-curricular activities across the district.The Hillsboro Hops' mascot Barley is used to revving up the crowd at Hops baseball games and community events, but the bright green mascot made a rather unusual stop on Friday, when he and other members of the baseball team's management stopped by Glencoe High School for the school's spring assembly.

During the assembly on Friday, March 10, the baseball team presented the Hillsboro School District with a check for $24,000 to help pay for the district's after-school sports programs.

The Hops are the first of five so-called "anchor sponsors" for the district, local businesses who have agreed to help fund athletics and activities across the district.

"It's going to go to extra-curriculars of all kinds," said Rian Petrick, the district's director of extra-curricular programming and community outreach. "This is not just a sports thing, and not necessarily just a high school thing either."

According to Hillsboro School District, about 3,500 students participate in afterschool sports or activities across the district's four high schools. Many of those teams and clubs rely on private fundraising in order to pay for equipment.

"Recent budget cuts have made it a challenge for the high schools (to) fully support these students in their extra-curricular endeavors, and to expand offerings to other students," the district said.

Petrick, a former principal with the district who took over as head of extra-curricular and athletics programs last year, said that The money will go to help lower so-called pay-to-play costs in some sports and club fees. A district committee will decide how the dollars will be spent later this year.

"We want to help support the organizations who do all this fundraising just to make ends meet," Petrick said. "There are a lot of areas we need help with."

Petrick said that for some students, extra-curricular activities such as drama club or playing on a sports team is what keeps them in school.

"It's what keeps them engaged," he said. "But there are a lot of barriers that keep families from participating. There's paying fees, there's equipment. There are a lot of expectations on kids and families to fundraise. We want to make things more palatable for people."

One other anchor sponsor, Wolfe Dental on Elam Young Parkway is the district's second anchor sponsor. Petrick said he hopes to find three other local businesses interested in joining the program.

"Frankly, if we had $1 million to spend on extra-curriculars, we'd be able to spend that in a heartbeat and we'd still need more," he said. "This is a start to make some positive momentum and find other areas where we can gain revenue streams. The funding at the state level now is not providing us the opportunities that we want to provide for our kids."

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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