By the time you read this, chances are a group of students at Academy for Technology and the Classics will have started a journey of a 162 miles.
By 7 a.m., the freshman health class taught by Tim Host will be running at the school to fulfill two functions:
• They are trying to raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle;
• They are trying to raise money for an ambitious project.
As ATC grows its athletic programs, its needs for facilities will do the same. So the students, some of whom are soccer players, are doing their part to pitch in for a soccer field. The school just started a girls program this season, and Host, who is the school’s athletic director and cross country head coach, wants to have the field done by the time ATC becomes a varsity member in 2014.
So more than 50 runners will take part in the relay run, and another 20 will coordinate the event, which will last until 12:15 p.m. The class’ preliminary efforts at fundraising already netted $552. But the event isn’t all about running. There will be music, S’mores sales and other activities for people to enjoy.
The boys program will begin play next fall, making eight teams for the school. Suddenly small beginnings — the school had just a cross country plus a track and field programs (which disbanded last spring for lack of a coach) before this year — are graduating into something bigger.
And the soccer field will be a big part of that, and not just for athletics.
“Having a field to play on would be advantageous, especially going into 2014 when both teams will be eligible for varsity competition,” Host wrote in an email Thursday. “The soccer field will also serve as the starting line for the cross country invite, the ATC Everybody Invite, which was the inaugural last season with over 10 teams participating. As the PE teacher, a soccer field will be a tremendous addition to our campus, especially since we have no gym.”
Facilities have been a problem for many of the small schools in town. Monte del Sol, Desert Academy and Santa Fe Waldorf do not have a gym or a track they call their own.
Often times, they search for places to house their teams for games, matches and practices, and the choices are limited (Genoveva Chavez, Fort Marcy Complex, Christian Life Academy and the Boys and Girls Club are among the options). That stretches the means of communication and transportation for coaches as they try to coordinate their athletes to get them where they need to be.
Having a field that ATC can use whenever it needs to will put the program ahead of the game, and other schools should take note. Desert Academy already is planning on building a soccer field with a track at its new location.
Host seems to be acutely aware of that, and he and his students are being proactive. Host added that he plans on a spring event to help raise more money.
And who knows where the journey will lead then?