Potholes, dirt, and newly formed mud from the morning's rain fill the modest field at Evergreen High School in Burien. The grass field sits behind several unassuming school buildings and is the primary place where the football and soccer teams hold practices – at least until the field becomes unusable. When the field gets too saturated with rain, practices for all must be held offsite. This results in the task of bussing student-athletes to and from practice sites, taking away from valuable school time, and holding events in other locations.
Describing the field's current conditions, Scott Logan, Chief Operating Officer of Highline Public Schools, says that Evergreen is extremely limited in terms of usage time.
"When the rainy season hits [the field] turns into a swamp," he said.
Thanks to a donation from the Seahawks and King County Parks, Evergreen's problems will soon be a thing of the past. A $250,000 grant will help the school construct a new synthetic turf field – usable during all seasons. With lines for football and soccer, the new field will allow for athletes of both sports to stay on campus for their practices and games. Logan said that this results in less interruption from the regular school day to participate in the athletic programs offered at Evergreen. The new synthetic turf field will also increase access during the long rainy season for all athletes, as well as save water and lower maintenance requirements.
Students, teachers, and members of the community were presented with the $250,000 check in an event hosted by the Seahawks in honor of Blue Friday. Mario Bailey, Director of Legends and Player Community Engagement, emceed the event along with running back J.D. McKissic. The lively ceremony featured live music, performances by Blue Thunder and the Sea Gals, and some friendly dance competitions between Blitz, Boom and Evergreen's Wolverine mascot.
The fun-filled event excited both students and teachers alike, all of which were thrilled for the big change to come.
"With the new field, it's easier to catch them right at school for practice and help with their grades, I have no doubt," Boys Soccer Coach Jordan Badinger said. "And I think it will also help build our community around the soccer team, which will be great because we'll have more interactions on campus."
In true Seahawks spirit, Evergreen's fall sports captains raised the 12 Flag at the conclusion of the event. After raising the flag, boys soccer player Gerardo Lopez echoed the sentiments of his coach: "It's the best thing to have soccer and football to be in one community. That the Seahawks donated this money for us, I'm so excited."
"It's been a long time coming," Lopez added, a huge smile pasted across his face. "The best thing ever."
As the Seahawks ready for their Monday Night Football matchup with the Bears, running back J.D. McKissic, who's on injured reserve, joined mascots Blitz and Boom, the Sea Gals, Blue Thunder Drumline, and team representatives to help host a Blue Friday celebration at Evergreen High School, where Highline Public Schools will install a synthetic turf field thanks in part to a $250,000 grant from the Seahawks through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program.