By Jessica Bartlett, Town correspondent
After months of fund-raising, a Town Meeting appropriation, and an entire summer of construction, the track at Hingham High School is installed and painted.
Now, the school community is looking to celebrate.
As part of the “Grand Opening” celebration of the track during the Thanksgiving Day football game, Hingham High School’s athletic department is looking for former track captains and track coaches to show up to the game and participate in the ceremony.
“Because this was a project the community endorsed and supported -- and in addition to that our track program through the years has been a program that has really has a legacy of excellence -- we thought it would be nice to invite former captains and coaches just to be a part of the celebration in front of the entire community,” said Athletic Director Margaret Conaty. “It’s on Thanksgiving for a reason, so we can thank the community for supporting it, but also to acknowledge that the legacy of excellence continues.”
Already, 45 people have contacted the school to be a part of the celebration. Conaty hopes there will be double that amount when all is said and done.
The idea is to bring all the former members of Hingham High track onto the field at halftime, and introduce them in front of the community.
Conaty said she hopes the holiday season will make it easier to round up all these people, especially college kids who are recent Hingham High graduates.
“It’s a brief celebration at halftime,” Conaty said. “I think people are excited when they see the track … It looks great, and I run into people now and then and remember when it was a cinder track and tell me their war stories. So that’s just something that we can all be proud of together.”
Not only has Conaty heard positive reaction from within the community, but people outside Hingham have been supportive as well.
One rival track coach even told Conaty that the school finally has a facility that matches the excellence of the program.
The kids also appreciate the now eight-lane straightaway, as opposed to six, and the effect it has on their bodies, Conaty said.
“They are excited, they don’t hurt after a run on it,” she said. “They are exited because they see progress in upgrading our facilities, and when you go away to some of the other schools, you see some beautiful facilities. Basically it was time, it came down to time for us. It needed to be done.”
The track updates have been paramount for the last four years, Conaty said. Especially after some harrowing winters in the last half decade did a number on the facility.
Now there is a track that can accommodate the 100 or so students who participate in the sport across all grades of the school.
“You want to be able to have a good facility that doesn’t lend itself to injury, that’s what we were looking at. Even if you step on the new track now, it just feels so different. There is a real absorption. It’s designed that way to absorb the shock of the foot strike. People walk on it and it feels very different. It’s pretty exciting,” she said.
Anyone who knows or is a former track captain or coach and wants to be part of the Hingham High celebration should contact Conaty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-741-1560 x5.
Callers should have the name of the captain or coach, the year of graduation if applicable, and their current address.