Raymond High School Cheerleaders awarded $10,000 grant

Reward money will be used to acquire new mats and promote youth cheer

Although the sports year is on the backend for most high school athletic programs across the Harbor, the cheerleaders for Raymond High School will have something extra to cheer for after learning they’ve been selected as the recipients of a five-figure grant.

The Raymond High School cheerleaders were one of 25 programs across the country to be awarded the Bill Belichick Foundation grant for $10,000. The grant is intended to “recognize deserving athletic communities and organizations in need of support and is geared toward creating, guiding and fostering the athletic leaders of tomorrow.”

The Bill Belichick Foundation, which is named after Hall of Fame NFL coach Bill Belichick, was established in 2013 and provides coaching, mentorship and financial support to individuals, communities and organizations across the country. According to the Foundation website, more than $3 million has been granted over the past decade, with $350,000 being distributed in scholarships and grants to 2022 recipients.

“For a small school like us, this is huge. We don’t have a really big budget for anything, especially with our funds being depleted due to COVID so we really rely a lot on fundraisers and grants to really kind of keep things going and keep us operating at a little higher level,” said Mike Tully, the athletic director for Raymond High School. “Anytime we have money coming in, let alone $10,000, it’s extremely important to us because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to afford things promptly.”

Tully explained how the coach for the Raymond High School cheerleaders, Raela McVey, had been wanting to get additional cheer mats for the students to perform stunts on and went looking for grant opportunities. He said depending on price quotes, the plan is to use up to $8,000 on the new mats and discuss using the rest of the funds to promote youth cheerleading in the school district.

In a Facebook post, McVey expressed gratitude to the Foundation and expressed her desire to utilize the grant to create a safe training environment for the cheerleaders, empower female athletes and promote the participation of young women in athletic programs.

Contact Allen Leister at 360-463-3572 or allen.leister@thedailyworld.com