Charities grant boosts city schools

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

FRANKLIN—In the fall, students at J.P. King Jr. Middle School will have the full school year to enjoy an array of new athletic equipment.

Franklin Southampton Charities awarded the Franklin City Public School division grants to fund new physical education equipment. Although all of the schools benefited, there was a greater need at the middle school, and King was awarded the majority of the funds.

&uot;When I came here, we had hardly anything as far as equipment,&uot; said Travis Felts, physical education teacher and division department supervisor. &uot;We had a few basketballs,&uot;

He said that Superintendent Bill Pruett had the &uot;vision to revamp the Health and PE Department,&uot; which increased the time the students spent in the classes.

Felts said grants for physical education are hard to come by, and a lot of research and review went into selection of equipment.

The grant to King, in the amount of $6,000, was supplemented by some money from the Parent Teacher Association and some interdepartmental fund-raisers.

The school was able to purchase equipment for floor hockey, indoor tennis, basketball,

soccer, bowling, badminton and softball, a baseball/softball back stop, Hula Hoops, a tug-of-war rope, tumbling mats and a storage cart, among other items.

In the spring, grading of the field adjacent to the school was completed — the only way the field could be used by the P.E. department. According to Felts, removal of modular units after the schools were realigned left many ruts in the area.

&uot;We have used (the field) a few times for physical education,&uot; said Felts. &uot;Field Day this year was a celebration for the end of SOL testing.

&uot;We had the entire student body and staff out there participating in kickball, softball, tug-of-war, basketball in the gym, football, Hula Hoops, volleyball and badminton.

&uot;The students and teachers all had a good time.&uot;

Franklin High School received $3,000 for physical fitness, a pull up bar, Ping Pong table, hurdles for relay races, flexibility testing equipment and a skin caliper to measure body fat percentages.

S.P. Morton Elementary also received $3,000 and bought circuit training stations,

ball bases, soccer balls and long jump mats, along with other items.

&uot;We also share equipment among the schools,&uot; Felts said.

He noted that Pruett’s vision has been successful, and it made the department feel important.

He said he and other department members, Carolyn Lawrence of Morton and Mona Sumblin and Darren Parker of the high school, have been working on a number of initiatives for the Health/P.E./Family Life Education/Driver’s Education department for the new school year.

Felts said that some of the areas they are targeting are physical fitness, obesity, self-esteem, good decision-making, anger management, gang prevention, mental and emotional health and life skills.