In less than three months, SM North alumni from the school’s swimming and diving program have raised $20,000 to establish the SM North Swimming & Diving scholarship.
The fundraising campaign began Oct. 13 with the 50th anniversary celebration of the school’s pool and wrapped up last weekend at the boys team’s annual Swim-a-thon fundraiser.
Steve Sears, 1979 SM North graduate who started the North Star Awards at the high school, said swimming and diving is the 11th sport to be supported by a scholarship through Shawnee Mission North Sports Scholarship Foundation. The scholarship is named after the school’s long-time swimming and diving coach, Cody Fothergill.
“Most of the others raised their money by one or two wealthy alums who played that sport, writing generous checks just to quickly fund it, and that’s great,” Sears said. “But I also thought this is something that would be cool if it was more of a grassroots thing.”
Noting the new aquatic center opening in Lenexa City Center about a month ago, Sears said it’s “a milestone year for swimming and diving” for the Shawnee Mission School District.
“It’s kind of the perfect timing to have something like this happen,” Sears said. “It’s a big change in the way the Shawnee Mission district is handling both where the kids practice as well as where all the competitions are held.”
Sears said funds for the scholarship came from 75 to 100 contributors, including alumni from SM North’s swim and dive program as well as parents of current and past swimmers at the school.
The foundation will offer the first $1,000 scholarship to a class of 2020 swimmer or diver, to be determined in April. At this point, only one scholarship will be awarded each school year, due to the size of the scholarship fund.