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Rose athletics kicks off fundraiser

SUN. | 10-24-21 | SPORTS

     Thousands among thousands of dollars in debt, debt that has been forming for years in the Rose athletic department, is now being addressed with the Retire the Debt fundraiser. Planning to chip away at the debt through student involvement, Rose faculty and staff have come together to get the ball rolling.

     The idea is a raffle for special seating at every home Rose football game. Each week students can buy a raffle ticket from Mrs. Haynes’ room for five dollars.

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The raffle is drawn Friday afternoon and is announced over the intercom of that day. The winner gets to sit with two friends on a couch behind the football field’s end-zone near the concession stand. Along with the seating, the winner is served pizza, drinks and snacks provided by the school. 

     “There will be prizes given away along with the special seating, and it will not cost a ton to participate but will still have a cool reward on the other side,” Rose Athletic Director Clay Medlin said.

     The fundraiser came to fruition just before the school year began when Haynes contacted Medlin and head football coach Will Bland. Due to the immense amount of debt that has built up in the athletic department, they both agreed the raffle was much-needed. 

     “From 2010-2013, we were spending around eighty-thousand dollars a year on bus gas to send our athletic teams to the four Wilmington schools in our conference,” Medlin said. “On the negative side of that, when we would play the Wilmington teams at home their fans would not travel, so we were not making any money back at the gate.”

     Rose has changed conferences twice since 2013 and has slowly chipped away at the built-up debt, but all of the money has not been made back. This past school year did not help with cutting the debt as COVID-19 kept fans out of high school athletic events. Football only had three home games last year and they were all in February or March, which had much colder weather than normal, also discouraging fans to come out and support the team.

     “Along with the football gate making much less money, we hope to make seven or eight thousand dollars when we play South Central or D.H. Conley in basketball, but last year only 25 spectators were allowed,” Medlin said.

     The athletic department needed a jump start back into cutting the debt and this fundraiser could do just that. While trying to make as much money as possible, the group would like to drum up student involvement in both the fundraiser itself and Rose athletics. The group is also being sure to stay optimistic and is not setting the bar at a specific number.

     “I am not going to be disappointed with anything we get from the fundraiser, anything is a huge help,” Medlin said.

     The fundraiser kicked off Sept. 6 as the second home football game was that Friday Sep. 10. The first week of fundraising was slim but the team has high hopes for the weeks to come. Participation is expected to be high as the next home game is homecoming week and the following games are against conference opponents. 

     As the football season goes on and the raffle continues to grow, the athletic department will accept every penny with open arms. Most of the money raised will go into the football program’s account but will indirectly help the rest of the department. This is because at the end of the year the county office collects the Rose sports accounts and then combines them all into one.

     Retiring the debt may take more than a few strong raffles, but a strong start to the year could help torpedo Rose athletics towards finally cutting the years of debt that has built up.

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