The Eastern JROTC recently undertook their largest fundraiser of the year, a Run-a-thon on Eastern’s track. When the group successfully raised almost $20,000 to fund their activities the cadets made an immediate decision to give some of the money away. The students donated $1800 to the Eastern Track 400m Project, a project to replace Eastern’s outdated and dilapidated track.
Colonel Orange and MSG Sallee said the decision to share some of the funds raised came directly from the student leaders. Battalion Commander, student Zach Palazzo, expressed the reason for their philanthropy, “We are a part of the school and we believe in bettering the whole school.” Before Zach finished his sentence Battalion Executive Officer Justin Brown offered another practical reason for the donation, “And we use it (the track) a lot.” Samantha Hynes, the other Battalion Executive Officer also added, “Helping the school is fun and it allows us to leave a mark long after we graduate.”
For nearly 2 years the Eastern Track program has been raising money to renovate the school’s track. The current track has holes in the rubber surface, is not the typical 400m length, and features a “home stretch” in front of the visiting bleachers.
The track facility isn’t just used by the 80+ athletes on the track team. As Cadet Brown emphasized, the ROTC also calls the track home. On a given day it is not unusual to see the softball and baseball teams conditioning, the cross country athletes doing drills or running intervals, the ROTC Cadets training or contesting PT tests. In the winter and spring boys and girls Lacrosse also frequent the facility.
Track Coach Mike Horan appreciates the incredible gift from the ROTC Cadets. “For us this $1800 represents about 4 more meters of new track. It also gets us very close to the $110,000 mark!”
A new track will cost approximately $250,000 but with help from other groups on campus and around the community there is optimism that it can happen soon.
If you’d like to learn more about the Eastern Track 400m Project or would like to donate, please do so here: goeasterneagles.org/400mProject