AJ/GC Donors Tackle Need for Helmets

Cactus Canyon JH & Apache Junction HS athletes to share helmets

By Sally Marks

Due to nearly $10,000 in contributions, the Apache Junction Unified School District’s football program received enough donations to acquire 41 football helmets for next season and continue the tackle football program at Cactus Canyon Junior High, 801 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction.

The list of major donors includes: Big O Tires, $3,000; Friends of AJ, $1,000; CCJH PTO, $1,000; The Hitching Post Restaurant, $500; and an anonymous donation of $4,000. The purchase amount was $11,662.74. $3,000 will be set aside to recondition the helmets at the end of the season.

“I never cease to be overwhelmed by the kindness of our community,” said Heather Wallace, director of educational services and athletic director for AJUSD. “They championed our cause and helped us score a huge victory before our team even set foot on the field. All of us at AJUSD are truly grateful to everyone who helped support our program and student athletes.”

The new helmets, which will be painted flat black, are Riddell Speed Icons, a model known for its impact protection and proper fit.

Both the junior high and high school will have access to the helmets. The small and medium helmets will be stored at CCJH, with the large and x-large stored at AJHS. The equipment will be shared, based on the size and needs of the students in each program.

In addition to the community pride that school sports programs provide, particularly in a small community such as Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, student athletes benefit from participating in team sports. Student athletes improve their fitness levels, learn the value of teamwork, perform better academically than their non-athletic counterparts and are less likely to miss school.

Anyone interested in supporting the sports program or individual athletes who cannot afford to pay their sports fees can contribute through AJUSD’s gifts and donation program or through a school tax credit. For more information, visit www.ajusd.org, or email Heather Wallace at hwallace@goaj.org.

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