EAF fundraises for campus sports and clubs

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Cody Evans, Staff Writer

If any Bear Creek students, teachers, or staff members happened to travel down Thornton Road during the week leading up to the Fourth of July, chances are they passed a fireworks booth intended to raise money for various BCHS educational and athletic programs.

At the head of such funding efforts is the Educational and Athletic Foundation (EAF). The organization holds fundraisers throughout the year to help enrich approximately 26 clubs and sports teams that are supported by the Foundation.

The booth was manned by parents and teachers representing such programs as cheerleading, football, cross country, swimming, theater, band, baseball, student government, and journalism — in an effort to raise money for various projects and events that make school, well — more fun.

Through these fundraising initiatives the EAF raised $249,952 in the 2014-2015 school year according to Kay Wilson, the Foundation’s treasurer. The Educational and Athletic Foundation uses these funds to cover general Foundation expenses, pay for trips, and cover operating costs of various clubs and sports.

“The Educational and Athletic Foundation helps allow [student government] to fund our program and in turn, allows us to help other students,” Student Government advisor and English teacher Laura La Rue said.

This year the EAF intends to focus its efforts on facilities repair as many members have noted that the pavement around campus is plagued with ages old black gum, and a number of student dining areas are in poor condition.

New EAF member Peter Pijl is leading these efforts.

“I am having a great time here at BC because I know the vast majority of the students and staff want to have a great looking campus, and it bothers me when people say we can’t do anything about the maintenance issues,” Pijl, who is the head baseball coach and owner of Payter’s Bar and Grill, said.

To address the dirty eating areas, during the October break Pijl had his baseball players powerwash various parts of campus students use on a daily basis.

“The parts of campus we cleaned were pretty dirty,” Zach Mathis, baseball team captain, said. “After we pressure washed them there was a clear improvement.”

At its October 19 meeting the Educational and Athletic Foundation formed a sub-committee to deal with the issues involving maintenance and facility repair.

The EAF is run by an executive board of nine members and a president, who hold monthly on campus meetings that are open to the public. At these meetings voting members decide what types of fundraisers should be held, who should participate in fundraisers, and how the funds should be distributed.

For example during the fireworks stand fundraiser, funds were distributed to each club, sport, or program based on how many sessions each chose to work.

President Anne Swehla Garcia, who is both a parent and a teacher in the Lodi USD, is passionate about the Foundation’s goals.

“The Educational and Athletic Foundation was created to help Bear Creek students receive the best academic and extracurricular experience we can offer,” Swehla Garcia said.

In past years the Foundation has hosted fundraisers such as Bruins Uncorked, a wine tasting event, and Bruins on Tap, a beer tasting event, but the organization hopes to create new ideas this year, such as Creek Con, a comic convention for students and the community. To raise more money, the Foundation also created  Bruins on the Run, a 5k/1k fundraiser, held on October 3 at Oak Grove Regional Park, which raised $1,751.16 according to the EAF’s treasury report.

“Fundraising through the EAF has allowed us more flexibility in what we can buy,” science teacher and waterpolo coach Michael Heberle said. “They help with caps, balls, everything.”

In addition to supporting sports teams and in academic programs the EAF is also a strong supporter of BCHS music programs.

“I appreciate that the Educational and Athletic Foundation allows my programs to be directly supported by staff members and parents, and I strongly appreciate [President] Anne Swehla Garcia’s infectious enthusiasm,” band director and piano teacher Joseph Sandoval said.

Those who participate understand that without the tireless dedication of the Educational and Athletic Foundation, the clubs, sports and academic programs at BCHS would, well — not be as fun.