School board receives academic, athletic gifts

Football helmets, stage lighting and a cello — those were some of the gifts the Board of Education received and unanimously approved Monday night.

The helmets will be purchased with $15,300 that came from two separate donations — $7,000 from the Ridgefield High School’s Tiger Touchdown booster club and $8,300 from anonymous donors, while the cello will be given by Sonya Singh-Smith to the RHS Visual and Performing Arts Department to be used by the symphonic orchestra class.

The Branchville Elementary PTA donated $3,500 to upgrade the stage lighting at the school.

“The current lighting system dates back to the building of Branchville,” said Branchville Principal Jason McKinnon in a statement. “The control boxes cannot be repaired and recent upgrades to our sound system have improved performances, presentations and concerts.

“New lights and a way to control them will not only make our current system safe, it will contribute greatly to student performances.”

Farmingville Elementary’s PTA donated $3,200 for the purchase of school playground equipment.

The new equipment will include three Zig-Zag balance beams, a funnel ball game with a 3.5-foot galvanized post, and a spring bouncer, said Farmingville Principal Susan Gately in a written request to the board.

A $2,800 donation from the girls and boys swim and dive booster club will purchase new touch pads and equipment.

The RHS Ice Hockey Booster Club donated $3,000 to cover costs of renting ice time at the Brewster Ice Arena.

The cross country booster club also donated $4,000 for the purchase of a new timing system for the running program.

The board accepted all the gifts without much hesitation; however, the football helmets did receive questions about rating, durability, and concussion prevention.

“These helmets are rated 5-star — they’re the same ones used in the NFL,” said Athletic Director Carl Charles, when asked about the $15,000-expense.

He added that the football team had previously purchased some new helmets in 2005 and 2008, but enough for all the program’s players. The new helmets would have a life of 10 years.

With the $15,300 combined donation, the high school football team will be able to purchase all new helmets for its players.

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