Octorara Yesterday

Schools 29 Jan 2014
Octorara Yesterday

Retired Octorara teacher and track coach Mike Mundy emceed Saturday night’s Night of Champions event honoring two Octorara Graduate and one soon-to-be Octorara graduates, Rick Powell, Kyle Kauffman and Cierra Runge for their athletic accomplishments.

The Octorara Community Stadium Task Force organized the event to raise money for a new track around the brand new turf installed last summer at the Gene R Davis Field.

Munday’s comments at the beginning of the event looked back at a time twentytwo years ago when the most used portion of the Gene R. Davis Field, the track around the soccer field, was in bad shape and needed to be fixed.

Here’s what he had to say:

Originally Octorara had a cinder track.

Historically, the purpose of public education is based on the community supporting their school regardless whether they had children or not going to school. In turn, the education of the youth would benefit the community.

There is no greater example of this than the commitment the Stees family of Atglen made to the Octorara School District.

Pete and Sally Stees were pioneers in getting the cinder track redone.

Their goal was to help their kids (2 boys involved with the Octorara track program; Pete would become a U.S. dual athlete which combines running and cycling), school, and the community.

The project to resurface the cinder track began in 1992 and finished in 1993.

Cost then was $59,000.

The Stees mortgaged their farm, had a variety of fund raisers ( ran the Covered Bridge Classic for 18 yrs that and had as many as 500 runners).

Sally put together a book; “History of Octorara” which eventually netted $5000.

They borrowed $30,000 from the Fulton Bank.

In addition, the Honorable Art Hershey of Cochranville donated additional $20,000.

It is only fitting that we all acknowledge and give special thanks and gratitude to the Stees family.

They put the community first!

When Nelson Mandella died President Obama said “we won’t see the likes of him again.” That statement may be true here given all this small family went through for the good of the school and community.

We should not forget their commitment to the Octorara community!

Now, 22 yrs later, this community has to redo what the Stees so graciously did in the past!

There have been no home track meets in 3 years!

The present track’s condition could affect the running times of competitors and possibly force additional injuries to runners.

The track may possibly be the most used part of the school by the community!

 More on the Stees’ remarkable contribution to Octorara here and to local farming practices here.

This paragraph from the August 19th, 1993 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer announces the new track’s ribbon cutting:

A cross-country scrimmage will be used to inaugurate the new all-weather track at Octorara High on Aug. 31. Pete Stees, president of the Octorara Track and Cross-Country Club, which is raising the funds for the track, will cut a ceremonial ribbon before the 6:30 p.m. scrimmage between the Braves and Coatesville.

Needless to say, the event will be held rain or shine.

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