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Fred Meyer grant boosts BHS extracurriculars
The Bremerton girls soccer team has worn the same uniforms every season for the past decade.
But that is about to change thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Fred Meyer Foundation that also will go to the SkillsUSA, photography and automotive departments at Bremerton High School. Each extracurricular is set to receive $2,500.
“It’s going to boost their confidence because they’ve had the same uniforms since when I went to school here — almost 10 years ago,” said first-year coach Colette Lyons, who replaces Lance McCoy. “The jerseys are old; it’s just nice to have this extra money.”
The Fred Meyer Foundation awards grant money to community organizations in Bremerton twice a year. The money comes from two places: coin boxes located at registers in the store and directly from the paychecks of employees who volunteer to donate a portion of their earnings.
Grant recipients change each year — Fred Meyer accepts applications, putting them to committee vote — but the money must go back to the community where stores are located, in this case Bremerton.
“Wherever the money is raised, it has to be given back to that community,” Fred Meyer human resources coordinator Kirk Kilpatrick said. “It has to be something to do with children or kids, hunger or women’s programs, so we always try to split it up amongst those groups.”
SkillsUSA plans to use the money to purchase materials and supplies for annual fundraising and community projects. The SkillsUSA program has been supervised by Will Jones for the past seven years. Under his guidance, students have carried out various projects aimed at giving back to the community — they have assembled care packages for troops overseas and spearheaded clothing and food drives, among others, while also working toward national competitions in which they compete annually.
“(SkillsUSA) has helped me increase my leadership skills and give me more confidence,” said Wendy Alix, a senior.
Students generally meet once or twice a week after school and the club is open to all Bremerton high schoolers. Last year, SkillsUSA organized a toy drive for both the American Cancer Society and Children’s Hospital.
“We couldn’t have finer kids than we have in Skills,” Jones said.
The photography department, meanwhile, plans to purchase a new digital camera as well as chemicals and photo paper, both of which are basic photography start-up materials.
There are five photography classes at the high school — one advanced class — in which a total of 115 students participate. The photography budget, particularly over the past year, is always tight.
“It means the world,” photography instructor Gary Bertran said. “We try to survive the year on very few dollars.”
For the soccer team, the grant money means new shiny uniforms — road and away — as well as fresh game balls, socks and shorts. Lyons said the uniforms didn’t arrive in time for the team’s opener Tuesday against Central Kitsap, but they would be in in time for the second or third game.