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Easthampton Friends of Football hosts 5k fundraiser for new playing field at White Brook Middle School

Students practice their skill at opening lockers at White Brook Middle School's Locker Learning Station. The station is open from 8 a.m. to 2:30  p.m. daily through the end of August.
Photo courtesy of White Brook Middle School

Students practice their skill at opening lockers at White Brook Middle School's Locker Learning Station. The station is open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily through the end of August. Photo courtesy of White Brook Middle School Purchase photo reprints »

“It’s built on a lot of clay and now it’s compacted to the point where there is no drainage at all,” said Guyette, a Southampton resident who is president of the Easthampton Friends of Football. “We’re concerned that soon, the program may be at risk. We can’t have kids playing on a field that’s not safe.”

On Saturday, Friends of Football is hosting a Gridiron Grind 5k Walk/Run to help raise funds for a new playing field at the middle school. The race, which begins at 9 a.m. at White Brook, will loop through “scenic” side streets around Park Street to the city bike trail at Payson Avenue, down Garfield Street and back to the middle school. The entry fee is $30 for adults and $10 for children under age 17. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, followed by a 1-mile fun run for kids.

Guyette estimates a new football field at White Brook would cost between $350,000 and $400,000, including the installation of bathrooms. The field is now used by about 45 Easthampton High School varsity and junior varsity players, and approximately 60 players in the local suburban league, she said.

The Friends group has applied for a grant from the city’s Community Preservation Act Fund to cover up to $300,000 of the cost of a new playing field. The Community Preservation Committee, which makes recommendations to City Council on how to spend CPA funds, is scheduled to take up the group’s application at its meeting Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m., at 50 Payson Ave. Guyette said Friends of Football — whose members include EHS Principal Vito Perrone and high school Athletic Director Jeffrey Sealander — are “super excited” about the possibility of securing CPA funding to help with construction of a new field.

At Saturday’s Gridiron race, free T-shirts will be given out to the first 150 runners and awards will be made to the fastest male and female in each age division. Participants can register online at the event’s website, www.gridironrun.com.

For further details, email Gridiron Grind coordinator Lorrie Dragon at dragon521_4@msn.com.

Outreach panel exploring

A new Outreach Advisory Committee is exploring ways to build more community involvement and support for city schools.

Ideas under discussion include hosting a parent fair; bringing more community arts performances into the schools; appointing parent ambassadors to give tours of schools and speak with new school families; and surveying parents to identify what they like about Easthampton school programs and where they feel improvements are needed.

School Superintendent Nancy Follansbee said the committee wants to work on “getting a positive message about Easthampton public schools out to all members of the community.”

Committee members hope doing so will reduce the number of Easthampton students choosing to attend other schools through the state’s school choice option, she said.

The outreach committee includes local business owners, School Committee and City Council members, parents and other community members. The next meeting is set for Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m., at 50 Payson Ave.

City residents interested in joining can email Follansbee at follansbeen@easthampton.k12.ma.us.

Locker learning under way

The Locker Learning station at White Brook Middle School is officially open.

The station, which offers new middle school students a chance to test their skill at opening locker combination locks, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through the end of the month. Students are invited to stop by and practice before classes begin in September.

Looking for reading guidance?

White Brook Middle School’s website offers suggestions for popular books and authors, as well as a list of literature classics organized by level of difficulty. For example, “Anne of Green Gables” is in the “basic” category, while “All Quiet on the Western Front” is ranked “challenging.”

Students who will be starting eighth grade at White Brook this fall are required to read three books over the summer, including one children’s literature classic.

The school’s website defines classics as “books that stay in print and are produced in film and stage versions decade after decade, century after century in some cases. “There is no formula for determining why a book becomes a classic,” the post says, “but whatever that special appeal the classic book possesses, it acts as a universal voice that speaks to each generation.”

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