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School Board accepts football jersey donation

The Lake Superior School District Board approved accepting a donation from Rick and Judy Osbakken at its meeting Aug. 10 in Two Harbors.

The Osbakkens donated $4,500 to the Two Harbors High School football team for the purchase of new home jerseys, and to show its appreciation the team will display a sign at the football stadium thanking them for their donation.

"It was a great donation and we are so appreciative of what they've done for our football program and our school in general, but this is just above and beyond," said Two Harbors Athletic Director Scott Ross.

Two weeks before the start of the 2016 season, the football team was told their jerseys were illegal and didn't meet the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) guidelines because the jerseys said FAMILY on the back.

"NFHS says that you can only have your team name or a player's name on the back of the jerseys," Ross told the board. "We've been using the FAMILY slogan on our football stuff for a long, long time. It stands for 'Forget About Me, I Love You.' It's been a part of our uniforms and our football culture for a long time."

NFHS publishes playing rules in 16 sports for boys and girls competitions and serves 50 member state high school athletic and activity associations. Ross said he contacted the Minnesota State High School League and they told him that having the slogan on the jersey wasn't bad, and that they thought it was great — but they said the school would have to get new uniforms anyway and gave Two Harbors a one-year waiver.

"Typically we get home uniforms one year and away uniforms the next year, but now we had to replace all of them at the same time and find pants to match them," Ross said. "The total bill was about $13,000, roughly, and we had to fundraise for that because we didn't want to drain our equipment budget."

That's when the Osbakkens stepped up. They've been avid supporters of the Agates' athletic programs.

"Even though we spread our donations out to all sports, I do have a passion for high school football," Rick Osbakken wrote in a letter. "Being football is my favorite high school sport I have been wanting to do something special for that organization for many years."

Osbakken learned about the team's need for new uniforms and decided to pay for the maroon home jerseys.

"We are grateful for what the Osbakkens did, and the community in general, for everything and their support," said head football coach Tom Nelson.

Even though the team will no longer don the slogan FAMILY on their backs, Ross was able to find a way to still incorporate it into the uniform.

"We still wanted to use FAMILY, so we called the high school league back and asked what their rules were on pants, and they said there is no restriction on what we can put on pants, so that's what we did," Ross said.

Wellness policy

Also at the meeting, the School Board had its first of three readings of a new wellness policy. According to Superintendent Bill Crandall, the new policy looks at the snacks sold in schools and also recommends that school parties, such as for birthdays at the elementary level, move away from food, sweet treats and candy.

"For example, if a child has a birthday, instead of Mom or Dad having to bring in cupcakes, the student could have an alternative option to pick from such as being the line leader that day or being able to have lunch with the principal or in the office or with their teacher," Crandall said. "They are still highlighted that day, but it's not cupcakes being brought in for everybody."

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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