Mitchell gymnastics will have to raise $8,000 again next year to remain sanctioned sportA year ago, the Mitchell High School gymnastics team’s future was in doubt.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
A year ago, the Mitchell High School gymnastics team’s future was in doubt.
Mitchell superintendant Joe Graves unveiled a plan last February to eliminate the sport and implement competitive cheer and dance — two separate sports. Gymnastics would have become a club sport at MHS.
But by moving its practice facility from the Knights of Columbus Hall to the lower gym at the high school, along with some other money-saving measures, the Kernels kept their gymnastics team.
At least that was the case for this season, which ends at the state meet this Friday and Saturday in Watertown.
Citing economic pressure from last year’s zero-growth budget, Graves said the previous $25,000 budget for the gymnastics program would be sliced to $16,000. This past year, that $16,000 was shared equally between the district and a parent support group.
That will be the same case for next year, Mitchell gymnastics coach Audra Rew said Wednesday.
“Dr. Graves has asked me if we are willing to do the same thing as last year and I said yes,” Rew said.
Last year, with the help from the parent group and the MEGA gymnastics club program, the team raised enough money to maintain the team. The program did fundraisers, including a number of car washes at Iverson Chrysler Center in town, and received a pair of large donations.
Midcontintent Communications and the Mitchell Area Charitable Foundation combined to donate nearly half the $8,000 a year ago.
“I don’t expect that again,” Rew said of the donations. “We’re going to have to find a way to fundraise the rest of it this year.”
Last year, the program did not have to use any of the funds the MEGA has saved. Rew hopes they do not have to do that this year, either.
“We want to keep it that way,” Rew said of not using the MEGA’s funds. “The MEGA parents all helped us fundraise and we’re planning on continuing with that. We may start our car washes in the spring this year.”
Rew said there have been no concrete ideas of other fundraising opportunities for the team at this time.
The Kernels begin the state gymnastics meet with individual competition on Friday. The season finishes with the team competition Saturday.
Competitive cheer was added as a sanctioned sport at MHS last year, while dance was not.
Graves was unable to be reached for this story, but did discuss the issue in a conversation with The Daily Republic in late November.
“When we left our meetings with the parents, we shook hands and we decided we were going to move forward with gymnastics,” Graves said. “I think both sides have done that and I’m hoping we can maintain that arrangement for years to come.”