Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wilkinson's Field of Dreams

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wilkinson's Field of Dreams

Article excerpt

A sign posted at Wilkinson Junior High School reads "Field of

Dreams."

Unlike Kevin Costner in the movie of the same name, school

Principal Ed Paulk did not have a cornfield he turned into a

place where baseball legends gather to play their games.

What he did have was community support and a lot of volunteers

who helped move trees, shovel dirt and turn a 21-acre wooded

plot into an athletic complex for students, complete with a

softball, baseball and football field and area that can also be

used for both soccer and track events.

Last week the multipurpose sports complex was dedicated and

everyone played and danced and ran and cheered and generally

kicked up their heels.

"Everyone worked together to make this dream come true for the

kids, the school and the community," said Paulk, who spearheaded

the volunteer project. "It was great to see all the kids here

and watch them enjoy it."

Wilkinson, which opened in 1971, is the first in the county to

have a sports complex of this kind. Staff and volunteers worked

for four years to whip the grounds into shape and everyone,

especially students, said they appreciated the fruits of the

labor.

"I saw a lot of school spirit today," said ninth-grader

Stephanie Hutcheson. "It showed me that the parents, teachers,

and school administrators are all behind us and I am looking

forward to seeing some games here."

"This was something we really needed and now everyone can come

here for home games instead of having to go to Middleburg High,"

said National Junior Honor Society President Angie Kite.

"Academics and sports combined makes for a wellrounded program

and we have a good one."

Those kinds of comments were just what volunteers wanted to

hear.

"We did all of this for the kids because they are special and

they had wanted this field for a long time," said school

secretary and former booster club president Kathy Booth. "The

thing that is unique is that all this was done by staff and

volunteers and without that kind of partnership this would not

have gotten done. …

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