Activity passes help seniors cheer on local studentsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Her four sons haven’t donned a Perrysburg jersey for more than 30 years, but June Sweede can still regularly be found in the fan section
at school sporting events — especially the home football games at Steinecker Stadium.
Sweede, 78, of Perrysburg has a Senior Stinger Pass issued by Perrysburg Schools, which offers free admission to middle school and high school home regular season sporting events, plays and musicals for district residents age 60 and older.
Toledo Public Schools (TPS), Maumee City Schools, Springfield Local Schools and Washington Local Schools are among the other area districts that offer senior passes.
“I got one as soon as I was eligible,” said Sweede, who has lived in Perrysburg for 45 years. “They made it very easy to receive it.”
Although her children and grandchildren live outside of the district, Sweede said she enjoys going to school events to visit with old friends and support current students.
“It’s just a nice thing for the school district to offer for folks,” Sweede said. “Whether they’re our own [children or grandchildren] or other people’s, we want to encourage them all.”
Football is her favorite, but Sweede also enjoys baseball, basketball and wrestling.
“I’ve really gone to all of them at one point,” Sweede said. “Of course, the plays and musicals are absolutely wonderful, too and I get in on those when I can.”
The passes are popular, said Rachel Johnson, coordinator of institutional advancement with Perrysburg Schools, which has issued the passes for more than 20 years.
“It’s a great program,” Johnson said. “Just in the last two weeks I’ve had three appointments from folks hearing about it and coming in. A lot of them are alumni or current grandparents, but it’s open to anyone as long as they live in the district. They all love it.”
The district organizes community events a couple times a year at senior housing facilities, senior centers or libraries to spread the word about the program.
“Pretty much whenever we hold an event out in the public, we get about 30 people signed up,” Johnson said. “We do about one pass a week on average.”
Sweede said she encourages other seniors to get their passes.
“They take very good care of the older folks,” Sweede said. “There’s special parking. You feel comfortable going to the games. Between good school friends, school officials and boosters, there’s always someone there to watch out for you. You feel safe when you go to the events. I feel good about going. If you need it, there’s quick help and lots of kindness. It’s a good feeling.”
TPS offers its Golden Apple Card to district residents 60 and older or retired TPS employees of any age.
“The biggest thing is when people come in when it’s their grandson or granddaughter playing in a big game and they get to cheer them on,” said TPS spokesperson Patty Mazur. “It’s just a thing the district does to give back to the community.”
The cards can’t be used for all-star games, city championships, state tournament events or the Shoe Bowl. Admission to plays and musicals is decided by each school, Mazur said.
When filling out an application, seniors are also asked about their interest in volunteering.
“We’re always looking for volunteers so that works out nicely,” Mazur said. “We can pass it on to the principals.”
Maumee City Schools has offered its Golden Panther Card for more than a decade, said district spokesperson Nancy Sayre.
“We do it to thank our community and encourage them to come out and support the students,” Sayre said. “The kids who are participating love to have people in the stands and we love it. We have lots of grandparents who are residents. We love to have them come out and support our students.
“We get an excellent response from the community,” she said. “The program is well-received and well-used.”
Among those who regularly use their Golden Panther cards are Sayre’s parents, Dave and Gail Lindsay, who have lived in Maumee for 45 years.
The Lindsays particularly enjoy attending track meets and volleyball and basketball games to watch their grandchildren. They occasionally go to football games with friends.
“It’s wonderful to get to go to plays and athletic activities,” Gail said. “There’s just a whole lot of stuff that’s available to us at no charge. It’s great.”
The cards are helpful for seniors on fixed incomes, Gail said.
“My granddaughter played volleyball twice a week. At $6 a game, $12 a week, $50 a month — that can add up,” Gail said. “So it gives them a way to get out there rather than stay at home because they can’t afford to do things. It also helps them realize how much the schools are doing for the kids. So it benefits the seniors and I think also helps the schools. I just wish more seniors knew about them.”
For more information or to make an appointment to get a pass, contact Maumee City Schools at (419) 893-3200, Ext. 201; Perrysburg Schools at (419) 874-9131, Ext. 2156; Springfield Local Schools at (419) 867-5600; TPS at (419) 671-8263; or Washington Local Schools at (419) 473-8433.
Seniors will need to bring proof of age and proof of residence, such as a driver’s license or other photo ID and a piece of mail with their address. In most cases, school staff will take their photo and produce a photo ID card while they wait. The passes are valid for life.
Editor’s Note: Springfield Local Schools also offers Senior Sports Passes. The district was inadvertently omitted from the print version.