After 26 years, football returns to Tacoma middle schools

Mar 27, 2013

Middle school football teams hit the gridiron this week in Tacoma for the first time since the Reagan administration. It’s been 26 years since the school district transitioned from a junior high system, and canceled almost all middle school athletics.

Now some creative fundraising has allowed both boys and girls to don pads and helmets, and go knock the stuffing out of each other.

Tacoma Public Schools student life director Jennifer Kubista has been working on the issue for about six years. She said she was giddy over the weekend when teams took the field for the Middle School Football Jamboree, the program’s coming-out party.

“I just literally stood all day Saturday, smiling,” Kubista said.

Having strong sports programs and other activities kids are passionate about can keep them focused on their academics, she said.

“They’re going to put their nose in the math that they might struggle with, because they want to go out and be part of the drama program, or be part of the football team, or be part of the robotics team,” she said.

District officials say most of the half-million dollar price tag for football came from selling ads at stadiums and gyms. After the initial outlay, Kubista expects the program to cost $100,000 to $150,000 a year.