By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Friday, February 23, Steve Hildebrant, Area Manager for the Eastern Division of Alabama Power Company, presented a check to West End High 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.
“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 foundation aims to provide the Power to Play grants to programs for students that would benefit most from financial assistance. Recipients of the grants must be public high schools with 50 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
In the past, the Power to Play program only offered athletic grants, but now has expanded to include grants for arts programs. This is the fourth year the Alabama Power Foundation has awarded Power to Play grants. Each grant recipient is awarded $2,500. This year, the foundation has given 35 grants to extracurricular programs throughout Alabama. Of those grants, 22 will be given to athletics programs and 13 to arts programs. Gadsden City High is another local school that has received an athletic grant.
“We are excited to support students across the state through our Power to Play program,” said Calhoun. “This year’s grantees represent a wide variety of programs – from band to competitive cheerleading, wrestling to the fine arts. We are proud to assist Alabama students in pursuing their athletic and artistic passions.”
Since the Power to Play program began in 2014, more than 130 grants have been awarded, including several other local schools. Last year, the Gaston cross country team received an athletic grant and Gadsden City High School received an arts grant.
West End High School is planning to use its grant to support its new bowling team and the girls athletics programs. According to the bowling team coach Paige Cash, the Patriots are excited to use the money to buy equipment and team shirts.
For more information about Alabama Power Foundation’s grant programs, visit www.powerofgood.com.