Beallsville’s community support goes beyond rooting
You hear the term community support thrown around quite frequently when it comes to high school sports in the Ohio Valley.
There’s the support fans show at games by rooting on their teams on game nights and then there’s the kind of support that the Beallsville Blue Devils’ fans and backers have shown their student-athletes already this fall.
And I am not talking anything about the fans who’ve made road trips to see their beloved Blue Devils take on the likes of Madonna, Strasburg, Paden City and Cameron this football season.
The financial plight of the Switzerland of Ohio School District has been well documented since a levy was voted down last May. Monstrous cuts have been made all through the district.
While the schools were able to keep all of the sports they currently offered, transportation was done away with and a pay to participate fee was implemented.
The fee is $200 per sport at the high school level and $100 per sport at the junior high level.
That’s remained, but the board relented a bit on its stance and is allowing the schools to use school buses, but they have to foot the bill and the cost can’t come out of the athletic budgets.
Beallsville Athletic Director Delmas Moore has been adamant about his desire for busing. So, once the board gave its blessing, Beallsville went to work to make sure it happened for its student-athletes.
“All of the money used for busing has to come from contributions, donations or the kids’ families,” Moore said. “The board left it up to us if we wanted to use it or not, but the liability issue plus coaches have so many things on their minds they don’t need to worry about how their players are getting to and from an event. I think we owe it to our kids to try to do this because they didn’t create these circumstances.”
The village of Beallsville and the small communities that surround simply love their Blue Devils and it’s not hard to tell by the way the community has stepped up.
“There’s a strong bond between the school and community,” Moore said. “It’s like one and the same. People want to keep their school and they want to keep their sports programs.”
Obviously, Beallsville isn’t a community where everyone is steeped in riches. That makes the fact that random people and supporters have risen to the occasion and made sizable donations to help pay for the transportation even more impressive.
“None of these people, at least that I know of, are floating in money. This isn’t just pocket change for these people to do this,” Moore said. “It’s not stopped people from stepping up.”
The cost of the transportation includes the mileage, which is a $1 a mile both directions and the cost of the bus driver, which is set by the distance driven.
Moore has figured out the cost of travel for this fall is $56,051.
Numerous alumni and community members have been donating.
“I had a lady come in and pay for four volleyball trips,” Moore said. “We didn’t go out and solicit people. They’ve just stepped up.”
The football trip to Strasburg was paid for by Aaron Wildman, who runs Barnesville Taxi Service and Between the Lines Driving School. The Cameron trip two weeks ago was paid for by Dan and Ravonda Mallett of Clarington; the trip to Shadyside this week has been for by Dr. and Mrs. John McFadden. Dr. McFadden sings the National Anthem at Beallsville and his wife is the school’s guidance counselor.
The volleyball program has been supported by alumnus Beth Sistrunk, who currently resides in Naples, Fla. Dave Wiles, who was recently deployed to Afghanistan, donated toward volleyball as well.
“It’s been humbling,” Moore said. “People are continuing to step up. I had a gentlemen hand me a check for $300 and said, ‘use it anyway you needed.’ It gets emotional when you’re working with kids because I know how important sports are. I don’t want to see our programs deteriorate, so I am going to do everything I can. I’ve been pleasant surprised, but I knew this community had a huge heart.”
While the fall sports are taken care of, the process begins in the winter and then again in the spring for Moore and his assistant Jordan Stephens.
Beallsville’s athletes have done their part for many years to help keep the athletic department afloat through numerous fundraisers.
“Our athletes work,” Moore said. “Now, it’s even more and they’ve done their part. We’ve been very pleased with our students. They know we’re up against it financially, but they’ve really stepped up.”
According to Moore, more than $3,500 was made on a cookie dough sale and multiple tag days garnered more than $1,600.
On top of those, the 200 Club donated $25 toward every student-athlete’s pay to participate fee. The First and Goal Club paid $100 of every football player’s fees, too.
“To my knowledge, we didn’t have anyone turned away because of the fees,” Moore said. “Every kid’s fee is paid in full for the fall sports.”
The pay to participate for Beallsville alone was nearly $14,000.
The levy vote will be back on the ballot in November and if it fails, it’ll be tried again in the spring. If it were to fail then, Moore doesn’t even want to think what might happen.
“We’re not giving up,” Moore said.
- PURDUE FRESHMAN Dan Monteroso is still recovering from a broken collarbone suffered during pre-season camp. The St. Clairsville High product is back to working out, but the timetable for his return is still unknown. He and I exchanged text messages last week.
Monteroso said he’s “doing a lot of strength stuff and lifting weights again.” He’s also catching passes again, but “nothing too serious.”
As for a redshirt, Monteroso still isn’t sure what head coach Darrell Hazel’s plans are.
However, when I asked him whether or not he’s chomping at the bit to get back on the field, he responded, “you have no idea.”