To attend a basketball game in a packed gymnasium or recall a football stadium filled beyond capacity during a Pisgah/Tuscola rivalry game, it would be easy to predict that high school athletics would be one of the most well-supported activities in Haywood County.

But ever since COVID hit and wiped out the ability for fans to attend games, it seems the affinity for supporting school athletic programs has dropped off the radar.

When an opportunity was presented to make a tax-deductible donation to the Haywood County Schools Foundation, and to direct that contribution to whichever high school has claimed their heart, the roar of sports fans has turned to a whimper.

Out of 15,000 people who attend a single cross-county rivalry game, less than 50 have taken the opportunity to support their favorite team.

Each high school in the county offers a wide array of activities where athletes across the board can hone their skills and compete with others. The reality is, ticket sales from the most popular events support basic costs such as team travel, game officiating and equipment needs — expenses that must be covered to make all the programs possible.

We realize times are tough, and are particularly tough for families with children. There is a host of costs involved with having kids in school. Aside from the clothing and school supplies, there are multiple extra-curricular activities that all have associated costs. The jobs market still hasn’t rebounded, some parents may still need to stay home because of the split school schedule with students learning both in-person and remotely and even in the best of times, finances are lean for many families.

Here’s a chance for those who have raised their families or are in a position to help children learn the value of physical activity and healthy competition to pay it forward.

Donors can visit The Mountaineer website to make an online contribution to the Haywood County Schools Foundation or send checks to 1230 N Main Street, Waynesville, NC 28786. Be sure to identify which school you are supporting as any donations without a school specified will be evenly split between the Pisgah and Tuscola.

As of Feb. 24, Pisgah had 21 donations totaling $1,300;  Tuscola has 23 donations totaling $1,430 six donations and eight donations totaling $30 were split between the schools totaling $630.

This puts total donations at $3,260. To donate, click here

To donate, click here. Fundraising event ends Saturday.

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