Letter: Freeport track, field will help build community

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The Regional School Unit 5 Unity and Pride Project was created to establish engagement, excitement and a sense of belonging in our school district. As I consider the words “pride, unity, engagement, excitement,” I can’t help but think back to a recent event.

Freeport High School hosted its first soccer games under the lights. The boys’ game drew a crowd of 500 spectators, while the girls’ game the next day drew another 300. In attendance we had parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, faculty members, youth soccer, and a student section. It was much more than just a soccer game. It was a community event. The atmosphere and environment was inspiring and uplifting. Compared to the 55 spectators at a typical 3:30 p.m. game, the level of community engagement, support, and excitement created by playing under the lights was unprecedented.

Athletics is a special medium that has the power to bring people from all walks of life together. It creates a sense of community pride, belonging to something that is bigger than yourself. I can think of no better way to continually create pride, unity, engagement, excitement and a sense of belonging in our school district than to approve, fund, and build the proposed eight-lane running track and artificial turf field with lights. The facility will become a meeting place for community members of all ages: a place to congregate, a place to share, a safe place to walk, run, and exercise. Please vote. The referendum is Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Craig Sickels
RSU 5 athletic administrator