After a year badly hit by the COVID pandemic, Eastern Wayne Middle School coaches and administrators went to work to make sure the student athletes were back on the pitch or field that season.
However, they quickly found they did not have enough equipment and sizes to suit the various Eastern Wayne sports programs.
So Eastern Wayne PE teacher Donta Lewis stepped in. Lewis is a freshman teaching at Eastern Wayne Middle School but has a long history with the school.
Lewis, who also coaches soccer and baseball with Eastern Wayne, graduated from Eastern Wayne in 2006, played multiple sports, and helped Eastern Wayne win multiple conference championships.
“This is my home. Goldsboro has always been my home, ”said Lewis. “I like serving in my church, changing my church, and doing my best to make a difference.
“When I became a PE teacher here, I knew I had to do something.”
Realizing Eastern Wayne didn’t have the proper gear, Lewis decided to contact the local Dick’s Sporting Goods on Berkeley Mall Ring Road to see if Dick’s Sporting Goods could help through its Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation.
The Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation offers a range of grants to support sports programs across the country and strongly believes that exercise plays an important role in teaching children basic values such as strong work ethic, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.
Lewis and Eastern Wayne Sporting Director Jennifer Fricks then came up with a proposal and met with Mike Piotrowski, general manager of Dick’s Sporting Good to discuss how Dick’s Sporting Goods can help Eastern Wayne get new gear.
After Piotrowski attended school and toured Eastern Wayne’s sports facilities to see what Eastern Wayne needed to improve in their sports programs, he helped ensure Eastern Wayne had all the correct information to apply for the scholarship.
“A few weeks later he (Piotrowski) called us back and said he could help us with $ 10,000,” said Fricks. “Which was a big surprise because we would appreciate anything we could get, but of course $ 10,000 is huge.”
In the Eastern Wayne gym, Piotrowski handed the check for $ 10,000 to the school Monday afternoon.
The grant is a boost to Eastern Wayne, who will now use the $ 10,000 to buy new equipment for its various athletics programs, which in turn will help attract more and more children to the sport.
“We want to make sure we have what they need so we can get other students to come out and expand our exercise programs,” says Fricks.
Lewis looks forward to getting the sport going again at Eastern Wayne Middle School, and while the scholarship will undoubtedly help, Lewis said there is still a lot to be done, but he is happy to have all the equipment available to the student athletes to ask they have to enjoy the sport.
And as the National Football League Hall of Fame Deion Sanders once said, “When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you play well.”
“It’s nice to see the sport come back,” said Lewis. “I want Warrior’s pride to be reinvested in school because when I was back in school we were proud and had hearts in school so I’m trying to bring the heart back to the community.”