West Franklin considers adding wrestling

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

West Franklin Unified School District 287 is looking at expanding student activities.

The recent finish of a $13 million bond added space to the district buildings, giving administrators a chance to evaluate additions to the school-sponsored activities.

The school board began preliminary discussions during Wednesday’s meeting about adding a wrestling program at the middle and high schools.

“It is pretty preliminary,” said Jerry Turner, West Franklin superintendent. “We discussed logistics, what the interest level is or isn’t, and what the start-up costs are. It was a positive environment and positive discussion.”

Turner said West Franklin educator Brent Lane led the presentation to the board.

“We have a teacher who is interested in wrestling,” Turner said. “He’s put his time and effort into it. He is looking at it from a point of view that yeah, he likes wrestling, but more importantly, here is another opportunity for kids to participate. If you have kids in school that have some activity, they tend to do better in school. I know if I want to wrestle, I have to keep my grades up.”

Turner said the timing for these discussions came at the right time, with the facility upgrades being finished.

“With our recent upgrades, we have a little [more] room now,” Turner said. “We’ve got some facilities that we didn’t have prior to that, which opens up some options. We have the facilities, let’s utilize the options. That is probably the biggest driver of anything. We have this opportunity now. Let’s look at it and evaluate it. See what the participation level might be. See what the community interest is.”

Turner said school activities are another avenue to teach children life lessons.

“You are supposed to prep [children] for the future,” he said. “That is what we try to do. This is another tool to help do that. All the values it teaches them. You get out of it what you put into it. You learn how to work with others and how to get along with people, you learn the value of those things. You hope they carry [those lessons] over in life. You give them memories.”

Turner said the board will continue to discuss options of adding wrestling in future meetings.