Stewart’s Shops contribute to Johnstown athletics

Johnstown High School Athletics Director Mike Satterlee, fourth from left, accepts a check for $10,000 toward the Sir Bills and Lady Bills fundraising efforts from Stewart's Shops' Corporate Contributions representative Max Spritzer. Taking part in the presentation are from left, Cross-Country coach Ashleigh Scott, girls lacrosse coach Denise Benton, field hockey coach Christine Krempa, Satterlee, Spritzer, Briggs Street Stewart's manager Patty O'Hara, Briggs Street Shift Supervisor Suzanne Wendolski, and lacrosse assist coach Tracy Ringer. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

JOHNSTOWN — With just over a month before teams take to the fields for the first day of fall sports practices, the Johnstown Purple and Gold Booster Club got a big boost.

Stewart’s Shops, which has three stores in Johnstown, presented a $10,000 donation to the organization in a ceremony Tuesday night at Knox Field.

“We met with [Johnstown varsity field hockey coach] Christine Krempa and listened,” Stewart’s Shop’s representative Max Spritzer said. “Stewart’s Shops and the Dake family, are committed to giving back to our shops’ communities. Being a Johnstown High School Alumuni, this means a lot to me.”

Stewart’s Shops and related family foundations support local charities, donating $7.5 million annually.

On May 18 voters approved the Greater Johnstown School District’s $37.8 million 2019-20 budget that included $200,000 for transportation for athletics but not support for the districts sports teams.

If the school’s athletes want to compete in the upcoming school year, they need to raise the $311,890 that was among the cuts made from the originally proposed budget that was voted down on May 21.

On June 20 with the support of the district’s Purple and Gold Sports Booster Club and coaches, the Sir Bills and Lady Bills kicked off the fundraising campaign with the 1,000 Citizens to Save Our Sports event in the Johnstown High School auditorium. The effort resulted in the group raising $94,850.75 in pledges in a span of two hours.

The fundraising efforts continued with a GoFundMe Page on Facebook that, as of Tuesday, has brought in another $13,303, still shy of the goal.

“Things are going pretty well and I am confident we are going to make it and get what we need for everything,” Johnstown Athletic Director Mike Satterlee said. “We are trying to make sure we have everything covered for all three seasons before we even start and that is our goal right now. I think we are close enough that we can try to make that happen.”

Signups for the upcoming fall sports season in which Johnstown fields interscholastic teams in football, boys and girls soccer, field hockey, golf, cross country, volleyball, girls swimming and cheerleading. Student-athletes participate on teams at the varsity, junior varsity and modified levels of competition.

“We are still working on that [signups] a little bit and trying to figure out where the numbers are and where they aren’t,” Satterlee said. “All the coaches met last week so we are still crunching those numbers. It is really fluid right now and we want to do what best for the kids with what we have.”

The Greater Johnstown School District has student athletes competing on more than 50 teams in more than 20 different sports. Approximately 60 percent of the enrollment participates in sports during the school year with about 40 percent participating in two or more sports.