We’ll make a bold prediction. With pro athletes being reviled by political leaders, and scandals rocking college sports programs, high school sports will become even more important to local communities.
We can understand the antipathy for pros who refuse to stand for the national anthem, and it is time to better regulate so-called “amateur” athletics at the college level, where coaches at even second and third-tier programs are paid more in a year than many American workers will earn in a lifetime. The evolution of big-time sports is both predictable and disgraceful.
There are some things in life that are simply not all about the money, and we are here today to hand out roses to those who focus their energies — and their contributions — on local endeavors.
First up in our Saturday Rose Parade is Rabobank, whose representatives this week presented Allan Hancock College officials a $1-million gift to enhance the college’s Hancock Promise endowment program.
Hancock Promise was launched last summer, and guarantees a tuition-free first year for local high school seniors in the Hancock College district, and who immediately enroll at the college.
The program has already been a huge success. The college has seen the number of first-year applications from area students more than double — up to 1,000 from the roughly 400 submitted at this point in 2017.
It’s a $10-million endowment, and Rabobank’s gift helps lift the program almost halfway to its overall goal.
In a way, this is the bank paying it forward, because it’s a sure bet that some of the smiling faces in local branches came to their careers via training at Hancock College.
Next in our version of the Rose Parade are Lompoc community leader Ashley Costa and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, all of whom deserve roses after it was announced last week that Costa’s efforts to raise funds for a renovation of Huyck Stadium has been a whopping success.
The renovation goal has been set at $2.4 million, and the Chumash gift of $450,000 is a massive step in the right direction.
The renovations were first proposed by Costa to the school board more than a year ago, and will involve converting the natural grass field at the stadium to synthetic turf, switching the track from its loose red clay to a synthetic polyurethane, all-weather surface, and redesigning the track to the modern accepted standard of 400 meters with nine lanes.
This will be the first full-on renovation to the stadium in more than five decades, and is way overdue. Welcome to the 21st century.
The stadium has been and now will continue to be a focal point in the Lompoc community — and a key player in that shift of emphasis from pro/college sports to the high school level.
Roses to Santa Maria’s Delta High School, which has been recognized for its work with at-risk youth, earning the school a Model Continuation High School designation from the state Education Department.
Delta joins 31 other schools — including Lopez Continuation High in Arroyo Grande — as recipients. All will be recognized next month at this year’s Continuation Education Association State Conference in San Diego.
And on the subject of education, bravo and roses to all local schools that sponsor any form of Family Literacy Night festivities.
Technology often seems to be rendering literacy a lost art form, but the simple fact is that there is magic in the written word, and it is wonderful to see kids wrapped up in a good book.