Members of the Central Valley High School class of 1978 decided at their 30th reunion they wanted to see more of each other. They thought maybe every five years they would gather to catch up on old times.
Leslie Camden-Goold, a 1978 graduate and the homeless liaison for the district, said they wanted to do something more than just meet for dinner.
“We wanted to kind of pay it forward,” she said.
They came up with an idea of a softball game – players and spectators can pledge money for rulings on the field in a “Buy Your Way Home” game.
Camden-Goold said they thought they could donate the money to the HEART (Homeless Education and Resource Team) in Hand fund, which helps Central Valley School District homeless families and students through tough times with furniture, funds, clothing and other items.
But when the Central Valley community was rocked by the death of recent graduate Jansen Badinger, the alumni group decided to change their focus and expand the game.
Camden-Goold said she went to school with Badinger’s uncle and aunt. Badinger’s parents went to CV, as well.
“They are a CV Bear family,” she said.
It was decided to work with the Central Valley Bear Boosters to create Jansen’s Door Fund. During the school year, the fund will help students who may not be able to afford to participate in a sport or activity, or may be in need of supplies for their studies. The boosters will also award a scholarship in Badinger’s name.
Suddenly the classes of 1976 through 1980 wanted to participate in the softball game, where all of the proceeds will benefit this fund. The game is today at 10 a.m.
“Our little game,” Camden-Goold said. “It’s grown.”
Booster Suzy Orth and Camden-Goold said the scholarship will be awarded to the student who exemplifies Central Valley spirit. Teachers will nominate the students and there will be no application process.
Orth and Camden-Goold said they wanted to honor Badinger for his school spirit. He was known to hold the front door open for teachers and students every morning to greet them with a smile. He showed up for every game, cheering on his Bears.
“He was a gateway into the school,” Orth said. “He was Mr. Central Valley Spirit.”
The boosters are setting up the fund and are creating a committee dedicated to it.
Camden-Goold said through the course of her work as the homeless liaison, she visits every school in the district.
When she visited CV, “it was always Jansen greeting me,” she said.
Orth, who works at Spokane Valley Tech and has children at CV, said she had the same experience and always saw him in the stands at games.
The softball game today will include chances for students to pledge money to strike out their parents. There will be T-shirts which say “True Blue” for sale.
Donors have been offering to help. Rosauers donated a gift card to purchase food. Leo’s Photography donated the posters to advertise the game and Shots by Tess is donating a senior portrait package for a silent auction. The two said if anyone is looking to help with the game, they hope people will show up and make pledges.
“I’m excited to see what Saturday brings,” Camden-Goold said last week.