Old Rochester Regional High School Principal Michael Devoll wants to make upgrading the school sports fields a priority and asked the ORR School Committee on October 14 to approve a special reserve account for a fundraising campaign to install artificial turf.
Devoll hopes, with the help of some donors who might make significant contributions, to start the fundraising off with a bang.
Back in 2008, said Devoll, a community group asked the committee to take money in for the purpose of renovating the athletic fields by adding artificial turf. The group managed to solicit a few promises from donors for some substantial donations, but they were never collected. Shortly thereafter, the economy collapsed.
“Not a cent was collected,” said Devoll. “Our fields have not improved…. We need to upgrade the athletic complex.”
Devoll was not asking for funds from the committee; rather, he was simply asking for a way to hold the money until enough is raised to move forward with the project. Devoll said that he will be looking for new ideas and unique ways of raising funds. First, though, he hopes someone in the community will step forward with a generous donation to give the fundraising campaign some momentum.
“It’s a substantial number that needs to be raised. We’re only allowed a certain number of bake sales per year,” said Devoll. “We mean business, otherwise nickel and diming isn’t going to make it happen.”
School Business Administrator Patrick Spencer commented that once enough funds are collected, the School Committee would be in control of specs and putting the job out to bid. Meanwhile, he will seek out two bids to use as a baseline for roughly how much money the school needs to collect.
In other matters, Devoll lauded the Advanced Placement program at ORR, saying participation has increased significantly – up from 79 AP students in 2011 to 131 in 2015. The new psychology AP course was especially popular this year, with three AP psychology classes of 25 students instead of the expected 15 enrolled students.
All students now sit for the AP exam to earn credit towards their grade point average, and Devoll hopes to expand the program further in the future to include AP science and art.
“We’ve been doing a great job expanding our AP program, and I expect that number to go up even further next year,” said Devoll.
Also during the meeting, ORR School Committee Chairman James O’Brien announced his resignation from the committee in light of a recent job promotion to become superintendent director of the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. The committee thanked O’Brien for his years of leadership and dedication.
“It’s kind of bittersweet for me,” said O’Brien. “It’s been an unbelievable ride and an unbelievable experience.”
Superintendent Doug White during the meeting presented student Paige Watterson with the Certificate of Academic Achievement Excellence Award.
“She has a passion for academic achievement as well as a passion for justice,” said White, applauding her class rank and participation in school activities such as the debate team, math team, labor equality club, participation in numerous drama productions, and volunteer work outside of school. “She’s a great person with a long road of success ahead of her.”
The next meeting of the Old Rochester Regional School Committee is scheduled for November 18 at 6:00 pm in the junior high media room.
By Jean Perry