Northeast High School is located in the heart of a community that takes pride in its blue-collar and industrial heritage. Northeast will be celebrating its 100th anniversary during the 2013-14 school year. It simply seems fitting and proper for Northeast to be the 2011 recipient of the 610 Sports Radio and Pipe Fitters Local 533 facilities enrichment grant. This grant would serve a purpose of boosting the pride, self-confidence and self-esteem of every present and future member of a Northeast student body that typically numbers close to 1,200. This grant also would permanently recognize the hundreds and possibly the thousands throughout the years who have contributed to Northeast’s proud traditions and history. Honoring past students and motivating future students would be accomplished through a long overdue gym make-over project. Northeast’s Markey/Peters Physical Education facility (named after Missouri Sports Hall of Fame coaches E.A. Markey and Reaves Peters) was built in 1988. Its drab and bare south wall has only a medium-sized American flag. The west wall has four banners consisting of Northeast slogans. The north wall has two girls basketball championship banners and the east wall has its painted purple Northeast Viking. But there are no banners to acknowledge Northeast’s four state championships in boys basketball, six state championships in boys track and field, six undefeated football teams (consider that Northeast won 14-13 over Rockhurst in a 1952 mythical city football championship game), and more than 80 different league and district championship teams in 13 sports. There is nothing that highlights the JROTC program – especially when it was in its heyday when the school’s official name was Northeast Military and Law Enforcement Magnet High School (also consider that FBI director Clarence Kelley is a 1928 Northeast graduate). Boards listing individual state champions in track and field and cross country, past Kansas City Star scholar-athletes, and school record holders in track and field are also missing. A visible copy of the school song, banners of fellow Interscholastic League schools, padded chairs in purple and white imprinted with “Northeast Vikings,” and a series of Northeast High School customized floor mats are other missing items. Is a gym make-over needed at this school? Consider that over 85 percent of it student body qualifies for free and reduced lunch. Who would benefit? Each and every Northeast student since physical education is a required middle school and high school class at this school consisting of grades 7 through 12, high school athletes and athletic teams (volleyball, boys and girls basketball), community athletes and athletic teams (indoor soccer, indoor track and jump rope), and the spectators who visit this facility to witness its numerous events. Is the school and community deserving of this grant? This community at one time was the industrial hub of Kansas City. Blue-collar values such as hard work and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps have helped many of its former residents move on to more highly-regarded neighborhoods. Yet this area continues fulfills a need for many by providing affordable homes and ways of life. Things come and things grow old. Yes, a gym makeover just might be the thing that sparks a renaissance of sorts for this neighborhood that paid its dues a long time ago.
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