Duval County Public Schools held a press conference Wednesday to announce that the funds have been raised to save tennis, golf and cross-country for the 2011-12 school year. Thanks to the efforts of 1st Place Sports Running Club, First Coast Tennis Foundation and North Florida Junior Golf Foundation, $43,724 was raised for each sport to keep them in Duval County public schools.
In addition, Mayor Alvin Brown announced that $236,250 was raised to save middle school football as a result of contributions from the Jacksonville Sharks and other private organizations.
“This fundraising effort showed teamwork. Jacksonville is a city full of people who understand the value of partnership,” Brown said. “Sports are an important addition to a traditional school curriculum because they promote good character and can lead to scholarship opportunities.”
In order to save these programs, fundraisers were organized by the organizations to show support for their respective sport. 1st Place Sports Running Club held the Stadium Challenge in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and SMG (an events venue management company) to raise funds for cross-country; First Coast Tennis Foundation held the Save Jax Tennis High School Fundraiser at the San Jose Country Club with local tennis pros; and North Florida Junior Golf sponsored the FORE Our Students golf tournament that took place at the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club.
“I would like to express our gratitude to these organizations for devoting their time and energy to organize and execute the fundraisers that will allow these sports programs to remain in our schools this year,” said DCPS Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals. “It is encouraging to know that we have such a supportive community that puts the needs of our students before all else.”
There are four remaining sports programs that are continuing to raise the money needed to continue their sport. Those include slow-pitch softball, wrestling, lacrosse and boys J.V. soccer. Approximately $40-$45,000 is needed in order for these four programs to be offered this school year.
Those present at the event, which was held at First Coast High School, included Pratt-Dannals, Brown, Education Commissioner Donny Horner and representatives from the Jacksonville Sharks, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and SMG.
Duval County Public Schools operates 177 schools and serves approximately 123,000 students.
Jill Johnson, communications director, Duval County Public Schools
The City of Jacksonville Mayor’s Office press release