By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On February 14, Steve Hidebrant, Area Manager for the Eastern Division of Alabama Power Company, presented a check to Gaston High School as part of the Alabama Power Foundation’s Power to Play grants.
The Power to Play grant program aims to help schools increase participation in extracurricular activities because studies show that extracurriculars are linked to better classroom performance, including better classroom grades, better standardized test scores, improved graduation rates, better attendance and less disciplinary infractions.
In the past, the Power to Play program only offered athletic grants, but this year, it expanded to include grants for arts programs.
“The Power to Play program’s goal has always been to empower students to participate in extracurricular activities,” said Myla Calhoun, president of the Alabama Power Foundation. “The addition of the arts grants this year helped us reach more students in more programs. We are very excited to fund this diverse group of arts and athletics programs.”
The Foundation awarded grants to 36 schools throughout Alabama. Half of the grants will go towards athletics programs, while the remaining 18 will go to arts programs. All recipients are schools with 50 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced lunch prices.
Gaston High School received an athletic grant. The grant will be used to provide sets of new uniforms for the school’s girls’ and boys’ cross country teams. In the past, team members have purchased their uniforms instead of paying a team fee. After uniforms are purchased, any remaining money will go towards the teams’ travel expenses.
“It is my hope that, with the purchase of team sets of uniforms, we will be able to increase the number of students that participate in cross country,” said Stacy Hall, the Gaston cross country coach. “Thank you, Alabama Power.”
Another local school, Gadsden City High School, will receive an arts grant from the Power to Play program.
For more information about Alabama Power Foundation’s grant programs, visit www.powerofgood.com.