The governor has pitched a curveball to high school students in the state's technical schools -- threatening to take away their sports programs -- but a Platt Tech senior is up at bat, hoping to score big in this game of politics.
Pedro Vreeland, a senior at Platt, has launched a petition -- and is determined to convince legislators to keep funding for sports.
“I’m a person who sets my mind to do something, and I follow it through,” Pedro Vreeland, 17, said.
He was instrumental in creating the petition that he plans to present to the legislature prior to their Aug. 15 proposed vote.
“There’s an online petition that people can sign at www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-suspension-of-athletics-in-vocational-technical-school-system," he said.
In addition, a paper petition is being circulated.
“Everything has to be completed before the tenth of August,” he added.
Vreeland, a senior varsity starting football player, says: “This is more than a team. This is a family, a brotherhood…I’ve grown up playing football with most of these kids and I couldn’t pick a better group of people.
"In my opinion, playing sports in high school is more than just a hobby. It gives you a sense of responsibility, leadership and trust.
"Working as part of a team gives you an idea of how to work with people in real life, and it shows and teaches you problem-solving and communication skills that school alone couldn’t teach.”
A rally is planned for Aug. 6 and 11 a.m. at Platt Tech on Orange Avenue in Milford. Vreeland expects a good turnout, citing the statistics around sports participation at Platt Tech.
“There are 915 students in our school,” he says. “Out of those, 576 are athletes of which 445 are three-season athletes. Seven are in line for [athletic college] scholarships. Last marking period, 94 percent of athletes received honors. You cannot play with anything below a 'C' and to receive honors you can’t have any 'C's'
"Each season offers five or more sports; each season costs a little over $8000. The school pays about $2500 of that, and the rest is paid by donations from alumni or athletic group support.”
The public is encouraged to sign the petition and attend the rally.