May 26 • 11:32 AM
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Dozens volunteered to make sports complex a reality

Dear Editor,

For nine months a year, the school buses help set the daily rhythms in Capac. The school sports calendar determines much of the community's nightlife. People know that the school buildings and grounds belong to everyone, not just to the district.

Our schools are the most common denominator for young and old. Those who live in larger towns may not think that way. Residents of small towns take it for granted.

Our schools' priority, of course, is to educate our children. Test scores and other measures show that Capac Community Schools, like most other smaller districts, holds its own quite well in providing a quality education. But the role of a school in a small town doesn't end when the final bell rings and the day's last bus pulls away from our doors.

The school district in a small community such as Capac isn't just another piece of that community, it is a true partner. A good example of that community partnership is the Capac Youth Sports Project.

A few years ago, village, township and school district leaders recognized the need to offer more outdoor sports opportunities to our children. The district had available land, but not the resources. By working together, we made it happen.

In the past four years, the community—schools, businesses, students and residents —have built eight new baseball fields and a 20-acre soccer complex. Four new baseball fields are being built now, to be used by both school and community baseball and softball programs.

The project is at least a half-million-dollar complex, done mostly with volunteer labor. We've all been out there picking rocks, raking dirt and pushing shovels. Local farmers and businessmen donated time and equipment. The final result is a community sports complex that has about $5 in value for every $1 in cash invested.

Literally dozens of people have volunteered for this project. One who stands out in my mind is Bob Bryant, the owner of B&B Sod Farm. Bob was extremely generous with specialized equipment, manpower and expertise.

But it wasn't just a project for adults. Among the many young people who volunteered were David Bryant (Bob's son) and Thomas Jordan. David led the construction of four regulation-sized ball fields (with a little help from his dad). Thomas took on as his Eagle Scout project the building of the dugouts for two of the baseball fields designed for the younger kids.

I like to think it was this sense of cooperation in the community that helped attract Keihin Corp. to build here. The schools offered space for Keihin to train its new employees, and Keihin, in turn, has shown its support of a number of school initiatives, including the district's student robotics team. Keihin's automotive supply plant has about 180 employees, making it the single largest employer in the community and providing a huge economic boost for the area.

Our residents also showed how they appreciate the role our schools play by approving a bond issue in 2006 that allowed us to make some districtwide building upgrades and improvements.

People here know that Capac Community Schools puts its students first, but that still leaves plenty of room for everyone else.

A school district in a small town plays an important role. We want it to be that way.

Jerry Jennex, Superintendent, Capac Community Schools
September 24, 2008

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