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St. Clair Middle School awarded grant from Lelito’s Legacy Foundation

Bradley Robbins (center) with Robert Luther (left) and Tim Lelito (right) | Courtesy of Kelly Klemmer of Lelito's Legacy Foundation

by Calli Newberry

Lelito’s Legacy Foundation awarded its Pep Project grant to St. Clair Middle School on Tuesday, Nov. 30. With the $5000 received, Bradley Robbins, athletic director and assistant principal, said he will be able to upgrade the gym and softball dugouts, and even purchase new uniforms. 

“We had already been trying to find a way to outfit our gym with a scorer’s table…Currently, we use a Sam’s Club folding plastic table. Not only do our middle school teams use that gym, but also as we move forward, there are some volleyball clubs locally that use our gym and we host some youth tournaments there,” Robbins said. “Having a scorer’s table allows those things to function better and look nicer, and honestly, it prevents some safety issues with a padded table as opposed to something with exposed cords and legs.” 

Along with the new scorer’s table, Robbins has plans to purchase new uniforms for the school’s volleyball team and install new benches in the dugouts of the softball field.

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“We’ve been really excited since the news came that we got it. I don’t know how much the kids are aware of it, but our coaches and the folks that I’ve talked to in the community are really excited,” Robbins said. “There’s something to be said about the facility that you’re playing in, the nicer it is, the better our athletes are able to feel about themselves on the court. You want to have things that you’re proud of to bolster your programs.” 

Robins said as the athletic budget has gotten smaller since he took over the department five years ago and he has to rely on grants and donations to do anything “extra.”

Courtesy of Kelly Klemmer of Lelito’s Legacy Foundation
Board President Robert Luther with Bradley Robbins

“We can run an athletic program witn the budget that we have, but getting anything at all that would be considered ‘extra’ is not doable unless someone voluntarily gives us money or we’re able to find some grant money somewhere,” he said.

And with the Pep Project grant coming from a local organization, Robbins said it was more meaningful. 

“It’s two fold. It keeps the connection with someone from our community that the kids recognize and people locally recognize so it gives that foundation opportunity to stay at the forefront of everybody’s thoughts and appreciation, which is warranted,” he said. “And for us, it’s nice because it’s more personal. With a federal grant, you don’t know who’s giving it to you or what that process looks like.”

Robbins received the grant during the Last Fan Standing live event at Jersey Mike’s Subs on Nov. 30. 

“I was able to go and receive that grant money from people I’ve known for a long time,” he said. “It was heartwarming in a sense that it wasn’t somebody from the federal government writing a check so that was nice.” 

Applications for this grant are available to all public schools within St. Clair County. Lelito’s Legacy Foundation has now donated more than $13,000 over the last three years to local schools and their athletic programs. 

“The release from the Lelito Legacy Foundation for this grant comes across all athletic directors to have the opportunity to apply for it. Honestly, they’ve made it really easy with a Google form,” Robbins said. “It has some lead up questions and then you kind of have to outline the needs that you have, how you would use the funds, more in an essay format, and just talk about how many kids in your building that you see the money impacting or how it would impact the surrounding community as well.” 

For St. Clair Middle School, it could impact more than 700 fifth- through eighth-grade students and any other visiting athletes and teams.

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