Wolf Foundation involves the community - in spirit and fundraising
Fall Fest fun will help raise awareness and money
San Ramon Valley High School has a new two-story commons and library, a new performing arts center, and is getting a new gym. But other parts of the nearly 100-year-old downtown school are showing their age.
"In the stadium facility, the bleachers are in a state of disrepair," said parent Frank Miller. "The turf field is in serious need of replacement. It's been there for almost eight years. The turf is rolling up on the corners, which is potentially hazardous for the kids."
The stadium is not just used for athletics but also for general assemblies and graduation, he noted.
"The lighting in the stadium is insufficient to meet illumination needs and needs to be replaced," he said. "The district doesn't have the funds."
With these and other facility improvements in mind, parent volunteers formed the San Ramon Valley High School Wolf Foundation in January.
"It was actually started through the inspiration of Principal Joe Ianora," said Miller, who is serving as vice president, Capital and Fundraising Programs, for the foundation. "Over a period of his term as principal he has observed the reality that the budget with the school district was shrinking with the ability to handle certain capital improvements on campus as well as funds available from the state."
"The reality is that most of the funding is there to handle core academic programs and, on occasion, to supplement what's happening on certain buildings," he added. "The thought process was to create an organization to create financial headway to get parents involved and the community involved since it is a community high school."
The Wolf Foundation will target improvements in the athletic facilities, beautification, technology upgrades and academics, he said.
"A number of temporary storage containers are rusting out," explained Miller. The baseball field bleachers are also in a state of disrepair, and the auxiliary field, which has been used to store construction materials, needs to be replaced.
"The thought is to replace it with an all-turf field that can be used during inclement weather," said Miller. "The last few years we have added boys and girls lacrosse."
Community teams also use the facilities, he added, which is why the Wolf Foundation is trying to involve the community in its activities.
"What's great about San Ramon is that it is a community high school," he said. "People get excited about what's going on, it's so close in proximity to downtown."
Fundraising started in earnest in the spring, said Miller, and the organization has raised $125,000. The Wolf Foundation has 15 board members, plus another 35-40 parents are actively involved.
The community kick-off is a Fall Fest being held from 4-7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, at the school. It will feature 95.7, The Wolf, with live country music, performances by the high school marching and jazz bands, and fun activities for all ages. Festivities will include a dunk tank, face painting, a golf putting contest, quarterback challenge and home run derby.
"We want to kick off the school year and an awareness of the foundation," said Miller. "We want to set on the table for all the community to see what we plan to do long-term."
Although he hopes to raise about $10,000 at Fall Fest, the real goal is to cover expenses and create an excitement about what is happening on campus, he said.
This school year the foundation also is planning a wine event at a private home; a teacher-staff-coach appreciation dinner; and a golf and tennis event in the spring.
Next fall San Ramon Valley High School will turn 100.
"The 100-year celebration will be a series of events," said Miller, "kicked off with a beginning of school event."