Over 90 local youths are registered to participate in a Hershey’s Track and Field meet on Sunday, May 18 that has been organized by two Neenah High School seniors as part of the school’s Key Club.
Sophia Szymonski and Laura Rafferty organized the event and promoted it by speaking to students at all of Neenah’s elementary and middle schools and passing out Hershey’s candy at Neenah summer fun runs. They solicited volunteers through the high school Key Club and Kiwanis Club, while also recruiting teammates from the Neenah High School track and field teams.
Szymonski wrote a competitive grant to Key Club International last fall and were selected from hundreds of applicants for a $350 Youth Opportunities Fund grant to provide funding for the meet. The Kiwanis International Foundation is also assisting with funding and providing a concession stand to sell t-shirts the students designed.
Events begin at 1:30 p.m. as youths ages 6-14 compete in seven different events. Running events include lengths of 50 meters, 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and a 4x100-meter relay. Field events are a softball throw and standing long jump. The top performers qualify for a district meet on June 19 in Luxemburg. Meets are being held throughout the country and the top 480 national performers earn an all-expense paid trip to the national meet in Hershey, Penn. on August 2.
The registration deadline was May 12 so that a meet schedule could be prepared. The Hershey’s track and field games have been held nationwide for 35 years. Neenah’s Park and Recreation Department previously hosted a local meet, but has not done so for several years.