Cassopolis parent urges community actionPublished 5:13pm Monday, July 2, 2012
Robert Saxton, of Cassopolis, said he wants to see the community come together for the students.
During a special meeting for parents about Cassopolis Public School’s $100 athletic fee next year, Saxton vowed $9,000 to the school’s athletic department. The sum, which is half of the $18,000 hole the department hoped to fill with the athletic fee, dropped the amount student athletes would be expected to pay to $50 per student. Saxton, who will have five grandchildren play sports this fall, said the decision to donate was spontaneous. He also said he hoped it would spark some motivation in the community to match his donation.
“I don’t want to see Cassopolis lose its athletic program or its students,” Saxton said Monday. “If we lose it, the schools just suffer more.”
Saxton said he is a firm believer in local businesses and community churches working together to support the schools and its students.
“I want to challenge the community to match what I gave,” Saxton said. “This is something that needs to be talked about.”
Saxton attended the meeting with his daughter. Midway through the session, Saxton pulled Assistant Principal Hiawatha Francisco aside and had him announce he would like to donate $9,000 and drop the fee by 50 percent.
“I wanted to keep our students from feeling like they have to go to other districts,” Saxton said. “It’s good to see that people want to come together and do fundraisers and help, but we’ve got to be consistent.”
Saxton said that previously, he rallied to establish an athletic center that would benefit the county as well as Cassopolis schools. The plan fell through after a lack of support.
“It boils down to more parent participation and community support,” Saxton said. “If there is consistent support when the teams are doing well, and even when they aren’t doing well, the kids see that and they play better and it brings in more for athletics.”
The school’s athletic department is working out volunteer opportunities for student athletes. Other possibilities include a pig roast with athlete servers, Cass County Fair clean-up and local fundraisers.
Saxton said he hopes the community can come together and raise the other $9,000, preventing students and their families from having to pay a fee at all.
“I figured there was something that I can do to help,” Saxton said. “So I challenge the community to do the same.”