MANCHESTER – Rory Dunckley wants to bring more pride to Manchester Township High School.
The soon-to-be high school senior and cheerleader is also a Girl Scout in Troop 416 working on her Gold Project that she calls “Hawk’s Pride.” Gold Project Awards are the highest achievement a Girl Scout can reach; each girl picks a project that usually takes one to two years to complete, something sustainable that makes a lasting positive impact on their community.
“For my Gold Project, I chose the issue of lack of pride in my school and in my community,” Rory said. “I love my town. Manchester is a great place to live and grow up in.”
Rory’s tenure as cheerleader has allowed to her visit numerous other schools. She’s noticed how well-maintained other schools’ athletic fields and facilities are. That maintenance and beauty shows a pride that Rory wants for her school.
“I want that for Manchester Township High School. Due to its unique demographics, our school district receives less in state aid than other local districts,” Rory said. “That means that after all our academic needs are met there is not a lot left over for beautification.”
Whereas state aid accounts for 40-50 percent of other districts’ annual budgets, this year the state will provide less than 10 percent of Manchester’s school budget. Local taxpayers shoulder more than 80 percent of the district’s budget. And with the state’s new school funding formula in place, officials said more cuts to an already lean budget will need to be made in the coming years.
Rory’s five-pronged approach to swelling pride goes like this: she’s already secured the name change of South Colonial Drive to “Hawk’s Way.” She had to get the township’s, school district’s and local businesses’ blessings to make that change, and she did.
Second, she hopes to construct a landscaped garden inside the high school’s athletic field that will include a statue of the Hawk mascot.
Third, she wants to create a Hawk mascot paver walkway that players will use when entering the field, and where graduates will walk across on commencement day.
Fourth, Rory plans to have a concrete pad poured at the Snack Shack.
And last, she wants vendor tables built in the school’s blue and gold that the many school clubs can use during games. The fields are used by the school’s football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and track and field teams.
As with all such projects, the mastermind needs physical and financial muscle. Rory is soliciting donations from the public to help fund her ambitious project.
“‘Hawk’s Pride’ is a costly beautification project that I believe will inspire the students of MTHS to have pride in our school, our teams, our community and themselves,” Rory said.
Rory is asking local businesses to sponsor her project for $400 each. Businesses will then get a 3-by-8-foot professionally fence-mounted sign displayed at the school’s athletic field for the 2019-20 school year. Signs will be installed during the summer.
Businesses will also have their business card information included in the Hawk’s Pride Dedication Program.
Residents and businesses who wish to donate or need more information can contact Rory at 732-684-0764 or email her at Hawkspride@outlook.com.