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Lehigh Senior High School wrestling team receives new headgear

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Jun 9, 2021

Left to right: Junior Kenley Dufresne and Junior Denson Denis of the Lehigh Senior High School Wrestling team. PHOTO PROVIDED


Due to the pandemic, Lehigh Senior High School’s wrestling coach sought alternative fundraising efforts, which resulted in the team receiving new head gear.

“This year the kids weren’t able to sell things in school,” Coach Kyle Von Linden said of selling chocolate and having money switch hands. “We were restricted on fundraising opportunities. That’s why we turned to this alternative funding.”

The fundraising efforts were done through DonorsChoose where teachers can post what their needs are in the classroom, or sports team. As the leading way to give to public schools, since 2000, 4.7 million people and partners have contributed $1 billion to support nearly 2 million teacher requests for classroom experiences and resources. DonorsChoose ships the funded resources directly to the classroom.

On May 4, Teacher Appreciation Day, SONIC Drive-In matched 50 percent of each donation made to teacher requests on DonorsChoose through Limeades for Learning. SONIC Drive-In donated $1.5 million to the teacher requests, which helped more than 7,000 teachers across the country.

SONIC has provided support for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Month since 2016.

Von Linden received a combined donation of $649.

“Teachers took this past year head-on, engineering a variety of innovative methods to keep their students learning in both in-person and virtual classrooms,” said Lori Abou Habib, chief marketing officer for SONIC, in a prepared statement. “We express our gratitude to these teachers, who create inspirational learning environments for students during a challenging time. With SONIC’s $1.5 million donation match, we were able to help teachers access much-need supplies to successfully complete this school year.”

Although this was the first time Von Linden had used Donors Choose, he was told about the opportunity by another teacher at Lehigh Senior High School.

The project “Help These Promising Young Men Compete at Their Best,” was to help give his athletes the proper fitting headgear to keep them safe while they compete.

Von Linden said this past year was his first year as the wrestling head coach. He said some of the headgear had Velcro, which was not working anymore, and the team had to share three headgear among 14 wrestlers on the team. There were times the helmets would fall off in the middle of the match, causing the team to call for injury time to fix the helmet and get it taped up.

About a month ago, DonorsChoose notified Von Linden that his project got funded and they would handle all the ordering. He said at the beginning of the project he was able to go online and choose the headgear he wanted for his team and it was sent straight to the school.

“I can give each kid their own headgear. It’s not Velcro anymore,” Von Linden said, adding that the youths are really excited about the new equipment.

The winter season sport runs from November through January, or February. This past season, Von Linden said they did really good with 10 guys going to regionals, two of whom were underclassmen.

“It was a really good experience,” he said of his first year of coaching, which created a better bond with kids both in and out of his class. “I’m really excited and looking forward to next year and building on our successes from last year.”

Von Linden also wrestled when he was younger. He said he enjoys the sport because you only compete against your size and weight, which gives everyone an opportunity to wrestle if they choose.