By Sue Moore
Vicksburg athletes are among the few in the state of Michigan who do not have to “pay to play” according to Athletic Director Mike Roy, now in his 16th year as the district’s AD.
“We have some of the best facilities in Southwest Michigan, in large part because we get such tremendous support from the Athletic Boosters, our staff and the school board,” Roy said.
Some of the long-time members of the Boosters were honored by the club at its Christmas party in December with a thank you from President Josh Baird. “You have made a difference in our ability to support Vicksburg athletics. We are recognizing you for your hard work over the years with your interest, enthusiasm, support and participation with our athletes and the sports they take part in.”
Since 1985 the Boosters have pumped approximately $877,000 into the school’s athletic programs. For example, a large donation of $14,290 was given for updating the high school gym in 2014/15. They even helped with the smallest donation volleyball practice balls and carts at $215 last year.
The Boosters biggest fundraiser is the weekly Bingo night in Kalamazoo. They also collect empty cans and bottles in a trailer drop off at the high school, sponsor a yearly golf outing, and conduct a Booster Bounce dance each year. A big revenue stream comes from the sports program book produced three times a year that features photos and lineups of all the high school teams and is sold at all the games.
There are 24 varsity sports for girls and boys with 622 roster spots combined for all three seasons, Roy said. With almost 800 students in the high school, 47.7 percent are playing a sport or in the band. All told, 90 percent of the kids are involved in some kind of outside activity, he said.
“We have a great relationship with the band which totals over 200 musicians in the fall,” Roy said. They too have a great Boosters club that supports the band’s many activities. The school district made a commitment long ago to not charge students to play sports in Vicksburg, allowing $500,000 from the general fund each year toward athletics. It’s the Boosters that add to the fund to insure that we have top notch facilities and the athletes will not have to pay to play.”