Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 18, 2014

Western changes requirements for varsity jackets, advances facility upgrades

Students will purchase jackets so they can get them sooner

RUSSIAVILLE — Western High School students will now have to buy their own varsity letter jackets, but a new policy also may allow them to earn the jackets sooner.

The board of education approved a new policy for how students earn their letter jackets during a meeting on Monday. Athletes now can purchase a jacket after earning one varsity letter, and student managers can purchase one after earning two manager letters.

Previously, the Panther Pride athletic boosters organization purchased the jackets for students after athletes earned 35 points and student managers earned 20 points; points could be earned for various athletic awards.

“By allowing students to purchase them themselves, they can get them sooner,” said Superintendent Randy McCracken. “We have a lot of students who do one sport now, so they may not accumulate enough points until they get to their senior year.”

Potentially, students could earn their jackets by the end of their freshman year or sophomore year, McCracken added, which would allow them to get more use out of the jackets, which cost between $130 and $150.

The athletic department is willing to hire students who may have trouble paying for their own jackets to work at various athletic events, and instead of being paid, they would earn money toward purchasing their jacket.

Also at the meeting, the board approved entering into contracts with an architect and construction management company to move forward with $4.3 million in facility upgrades.

The first move will be to look at replacing football bleachers, adding netting around the baseball field and constructing a new maintenance building on the south side of the parking lot on the south edge of the corporation grounds. Moving the maintenance facility will make room for future renovations to locker rooms, which McCracken hopes to have underway in spring.

Other business included:

• Hiring Lissa Stranahan, former high school assistant principal, as director of exceptional learners and testing. Stranahan takes over the position from Suzie Reagle, who was recently hired as director of the Kokomo Area Special Education Cooperative, after former director Cheryl Harshman retired. Western hopes to hire a new high school assistant principal by mid-August; and

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