(Copyright 2002. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

Making a permanent impression since 1994

July 29, 2002

Board calls foul on company gift

By Katie Jordan and Danielle Letourneau

Some people say that it's not whether you win or lose that matters, but how you play the game.

Those people probably don't care that Bristol Central High School needs a new scoreboard.

But there are plenty of people who do care, and they've been helping out by donating money toward the expensive piece of equipment.

"There is one scoreboard that has been delivered," said John Novakowski, the supervisor of athletics, physical education and health for the district.

The school's sports booster club recently donated the scoreboard, said Novakowski, but it hasn't been put up yet.

Bristol Eastern High School has two new scoreboards, said Novakowski.

While Central is still one short, the sports booster club has been working to raise money for a second scoreboard by collecting donations.

The school's sports booster club was looking for a contribution towards the cost of a scoreboard, which would be “somewhere in the neighborhood of $8-10,000,” when it contacted Craig Yarde, Novakowski said.

Yarde, the owner of Yarde Metals, gave the group an even better offer: he agreed to donate an entire scoreboard, worth about $11,000, Yarde said.

"When you're in the metals business, you're always donating for something," Yarde said.

Over two years, the company usually donates about a quarter million dollars to schools in various communities, said Yarde.

However, the Board of Education suspected ulterior motives to the gift.

Because the scoreboard would have the company's name on it, the school board called it an advertisement, said Yarde.

Although the money for the scoreboard was taken out of the company's advertising budget, Yarde said it was meant as a gift to show its good will towards the school and to support the community.

"We wouldn't do it for advertising," he said.

Yarde said he doesn't mind if the school doesn't accept his donation. "They can do what they want," he said.

But if board members should change their minds, Yarde said, the offer still stands.

There are many people who say the school should take advantage of that offer, including Novakowski.

Novakowski said he wouldn't accept just any donation, but if there is "somebody in town who wants to make a donation like that, I'd accept it."

Many of the students agree.

"Even though there is advertising on it, it's not an eyesore," said Kurt Galvan, a sophomore at Bristol Central High School. "It's a scoreboard, and it's free."

"I think it's a good idea to put the scoreboard up. If there are just seven inch letters on it, then who cares?" said Matt Hernes, another sophomore at the school.

But the students don't have the power to make the decision.

So it seems that for now the sports teams at Central will just have to concentrate on how they play the game.

Tattoo writer Kate Haire contributed to this story.


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