By LESLIE COLLINS
September 4, 2013
For the students at Holy Cross Catholic School, soccer is more popular than football, than baseball.
“Soccer’s a big sport here. It’s an important thing for them,” Holy Cross P.E. teacher Rex Nolen said.
With limited resources at the school, the students have been “making do,” however.
Their two soccer goals consisted of makeshift PVC pipe sans netting. One of the goals broke last year, and the students then resorted to using two orange cones at one end of the field.
When the students received a surprise visit and soccer goal donation from the Chartrand Foundation Aug. 29, the students were ecstatic.
“Best ladies ever!” one youngster said of the two women who dropped off the brand new, portable soccer goals.
“We need new soccer goals. We’ve been waiting and waiting for this day,” said Holy Cross sixth grader William Pollard. “It feels really good because now you don’t have to keep arguing if you made a goal or didn’t.”
Nancy Besit of Chartrand first learned about Holy Cross while working as a publicist for the Ringling Bros. Circus. Circus members performed at the school and Besit recalled how respectful and polite the students were.
“It was just a wonderful feeling,” she said of her first visit to the school.
During her visit, she learned how Nolen stretches the school’s limited resources to create the best experience for his students. She also learned how much the students love soccer.
Soccer is at the heart of her family’s foundation, Chartrand, which supports sports opportunities for children and young adults, she said.
“Sports and physical activities are critical to the development and self-esteem of all people,” states the Chartrand website.
One of the ways Chartrand gives back to communities is by donating sports equipment to organizations who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
“To see these makeshift goals and no net and the broken goal over there, I thought, ‘Gosh, we have to do something,’” Besit said.
She’s also currently searching for a donor to till and re-seed the Holy Cross soccer field, which is in need of an overhaul.
Despite the less than perfect field, the students are always ready for a game of soccer.
“It’s really fun to play the game; even if you’re not good at soccer, it’s good to try,” Pollard said.
Pollard added that his Holy Cross peers encourage other students to play, regardless of their skill levels.
“We don’t judge people on how good they can play,” he said.
Nolen said he’s grateful for the donation and that the students will be even more excited once he unpacks the goals from the boxes and assembles them.
“It’s going to be great,” he said. “It will dress up the field.”