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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Sports Writer
Parents of Washington County High School students could feel some economic relief thanks to a new student sports pass program this school year.
A $4,000 grant from the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy will allow WCHS students to attend regular-season home games free of charge this school year.
Jill Settles, the vice-chair of the Washington County Heartland Youth Coalition, said the passes should be issued to students later this month.
The funds come from drug prevention money issued to local KY-ASAP boards, who hope the students will spend time at school athletic events instead of getting into trouble.
The passes will be good for free admission for WCHS students to home games during the regular season. No playoff or tournament games will be included. The passes may not be shared and a student could lose their pass if they are suspended from school.
WCHS Athletic Director Chad Willis started looking into the passes last year after attending a Washington County football game at Green County. He noticed that there were a lot of students attending, and that they were showing a pass to get in for free. Green County's athletic director told Willis that they received a grant to cover admission for the students. Willis believes the program will be beneficial for all involved.
“It gets the kids involved in school activities,” Willis said. “It builds chemistry and enthusiasm in the school. The kids seem excited, and I think it's going to work well. We'll see how it goes this year.”
With the price of gas so high, it could easily cost a family of four in excess of $20 to attend a school sporting event with concessions added. The passes will ease the financial burden of attending games.
“There's times when we'll have a Tuesday night doubleheader (basketball), Friday night and sometimes Saturday,” Willis said. “There's no way most families can do three games. They have to pick and choose.”
Regular student admission to football and basketball games is $3 per student. Baseball, volleyball, freshman or junior varsity football and JV basketball games are $2 per student. If a student is active in attending all WCHS sporting events, the pass could save close to $100 per student throughout the school calendar.
Students will get their first opportunity to use the passes when the Commanders play the first home football game of the season Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. against Green County.