Mike DerGarabedian, a member of the United States Wrestling hall of fame, and Chris Weidman, recently crowned champion of the UFC’s middleweight division, are slated to appear at a fundraiser to support sports at Baldwin Middle School on Sept. 11. The two BHS graduates and wrestling standouts are slated to “meet and greet” fans and Baldwin school supporters from 6-9 p.m. at Chadwicks American Chop House & Bar, 49 Front St., Rockville Centre.
According to Ed Ramirez, Athletics Director for Baldwin Senior High School, the event will feature appetizers, an open bar and a New York Giants ticket raffle. All proceeds from the $100 entry fee will be used to help restore sports programs at Baldwin Middle School. Budgetary restrictions that will go into place for the 2013-14 school year required the district to cut all sports at the middle school level as well as some athletics at the high school. A variety of arts and music programs at all school levels were also cut back to meet spending restrictions.
Ramirez believes the defunding of middle school sports will undercut the quality of athletics at every level in the district. “What ends up happening is that kids who stay away from a sport don’t come back,” Ramirez said. “They can be intimidated about coming back to a sport after an absence. They feel like they’re behind. They can also miss out on the social aspects of sports and get involved in other things — some good, some not so good. It really affects the whole athletic system.”
According to baldwin4children.org — a website that chronicles the various efforts underway to fund education in Baldwin — the total amount needed to pay for middle school sports is just over $46,000. For information about this event and other fundraising activities throughout Baldwin, see baldwin4children.org or call the district at (516) 377-9291.