The budget constraints in the Switzerland of Ohio School District have caused the purse strings around athletics to be pulled extremely tight.
The River High softball program has gotten a jumpstart on making sure it continues on stable ground with a bevy of fundraising.
Casey Tisher, who is the softball team scorekeeper, got the ball rolling on the fundraising project last spring and started seeking donations shortly after the levy failed.
THE RIVER High School softball team received a sizable donation last week from Blue Racer Midstream, which is headquartered in Texas, but operates the natrium facility in Marshall County. Front row, from left, are Monica Curtis, Madi Taylor, Brissa Marshall, Alexis Piatt and Gabby Goudy. Back row, from left, are Casey Tisher, Haylee Bowers, Zoe Rush, Elizabeth Bremenkamp, Emelie Heater, Blue Racer Midstream representative Mark Jordan, Mackenzie Marshall, Mikayla Cieszeski, and Bailey Caldwell.
"I wrote letters and let (businesses) know know the situation in our district and our goal is being able to pay for the sports fees of everyone who played softball," Tisher said.
Just last week, the Lady Pilots received their biggest donation to date when they were presented a check for $5,000 by Mark Jordan, who travelled to the Ohio Valley from Texas to represent Blue Racer Midstream, which recently took over the Natrium facility in Marshall County.
That donation alone will allow the softball team to handle all of the expenses involved for their players.
"This will save the parents and the kids," Tisher said. "It's been an accumulation of small, local donations along with bigger ones and then (this past week's) extremely large donation."
When the levy failed, the Switzerland of Ohio Board of Education instituted a $200 fee per athlete. It also wiped away transportation, meaning each team had to come up with its own method of getting to away games.
To a degree, those new policies have been felt thus far in the fall sports.
According to Tisher, after he approached local businesses about the possibility of donating, he then went to the websites of Chamber of Commerces in Marietta, Wheeling, Washington, Pa. and Pittsburgh and just send out emails.
"It's really not been anything fancy at all," Tisher said. "I've just been writing letters or sending emails and then waiting for a response."
So, how's the response been outside of Blue Racer Midstream?
"The majority don't respond, but a lot have and have sent a donation check," Tisher said.
Thus far, the Lady Pilots have received donations from several companies, including Ohio West Virginia Excavating, local VFW, Elm Grove Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram and Consol Energy.
"We've received donations from Hannibal, New Martinsville, Wheeling, Pittsburgh, Sistersville, Woodsfield, Powhatan and now Texas," Tisher said.