MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One Memphis high school made it a mission to raise money for excellence because of the pandemic.

Kirby High School lost a lot of revenue generated by sports to pay for uniforms and meals as a result of the pandemic. Now, the school’s alumni are making sure students athletes remain in the game.

At Kirby High, a last second Hail Mary isn’t quite needed to win a game here, but school leaders have huddled together to put out a call to alumni and Cougar Nation to step up and help support the entire athletic department.

“We did have games that had to be cancelled because of maybe COVID outbreaks at different places at different points and time. So, it didn’t allow us to have the revenue that we would normally have,” Dr. Steevon Hunter said, Kirby High School Principal.

Because of the pandemic, Kirby High School, like many other schools, experienced a loss of revenue from ticket sales, concessions, and the sale of apparel for football, basketball, volleyball, track, and cheer.

The money is usually used to pay for uniforms, equipment, and insurance.

“[They were] unable to do some of the things that we like to do for our kids like provide those pregame meals, provide really nice awards and opportunities for them to make visits and field trips,” Dr. Hunter said.

Kirby alumni responded in kind. The school took to social media and contacted the School Seed Foundation of Memphis. Vincent McCaskill is the President and CEO.

“School Seed being in the position to help our schools around raising additional resources that text dollars don’t support, McCaskill said. “When Dr. Hunter realized he needed to get this done he knew there was a passion among alumni.”

One passionate alumni started spreading the word online. Their goal is to raise about $30,000.

“It was our alumni’s brainchild as well as our community partners and we were like there is a need and hey let’s go for it and they often call and say how can we help, and they always follow through,” Dr. Hunter said.

“There is a passion in the community to support this effort and to support revitalization of what’s going on at Kirby High School particularly around the athletics program. We stand with that school as we do with the school system,” McCaskill said.

The money raised is a win-win for Kirby from academics, the arts, and athletics.

“I think it’s going to be a great year, especially with the support of the alumni, the community, the families and what we’re going to be able to do for the children. I’m looking forward to it being an epic year, probably our best year ever,” Dr. Hunter said.        

Anyone wanting to find out how they can contribute to Kirby High School Funds for Excellence campaign can visit their Facebook page or donate at the School Seed Foundation.