The race to raise the $35,000 needed so that about 40 Springs School seventh and eighth graders may continue to be combined with the middle school in certain sports has apparently been won.
Mark Lappin, one of a half-dozen parents who, under the Springs Sports Booster Club aegis, began soliciting donations from businesses and individuals scarcely a month ago in the run-up to a Sept. 1 deadline, said during a conversation Sunday evening, “It’s definitely a go.”
“We’ve got $33,205 in hand at the moment, and we fully expect to reach our goal in the coming days,” Lappin said. He had received donations from 75 of the more than 200 businesses he’d solicited, though there had been complaints about the Springs district’s “high taxes,” he added, and skepticism as to whether the money for the continuation of combined Springs-East Hampton Middle School football, cross-country, tennis, wrestling, swimming, track, and lacrosse teams couldn’t be found in the budget.
The overarching fact, he said, however, was that the school board, in the budget proposal approved by Springs voters last spring, had axed the combined sports funds. Thus there had been no alternative for the parents of the affected children but to launch the fund-raising drive. “The parents really should start paying attention to these budgets,” said Lappin.
A lot of the donations had been anonymous, he said, “though the Old Montauk Athletic Club gave $6,480, and Henrika Conner gave $1,000 on her own, the East Hampton Indoor Tennis Club gave $1,000. . . . Dom Mucci, Springs’ superintendent, really went to bat for us, and he contributed personally. . . .”
In a recent mailing, the Booster Club, whose organizers besides Lappin included Mary McPartland, Jen Charron, Janice Vaziri, Adam Wilson, and David Swickard, said in part that the self-discipline athletes learned on the field often was translated into greater academic success. “Sports unify kids from all kinds of backgrounds . . . and demonstrate the rewards of persistence in the face of adversity.”
On the subject, Bill Herzog, a veteran cross-country and track coach at East Hampton High School and at the middle school, recently predicted that the level of the high school’s sports teams would inevitably decline if Springs and the middle school’s athletic alliance were discontinued.