The Ripken Foundation and UnitedHealthcare teamed up to bring the Team8 Tour to Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago, Illinois. With the help of 80 amazing volunteers, the weight room, physical education classroom, coaches' office, teacher's lounge were revamped over the course of two days.
In the weight room, volunteers put together six racks and benches, four rowing machines, four exercise bikes, three jump boxes, TRX bands, black turf carpeting, upgraded plates, dumbbells, weighted balls, kettle bells, and a Rogue Fitness "Monster Rig." The physical education room was fully stocked with rolling tables and rolling chairs to create a flexible set-up for the health and driver's education courses.
According to Senn's Athletic Director Steven Brewer, these upgraded facilities will support 500 student-athletes across 27 teams and 20 sports. The weight room will also be utilized for physical education classes.
“Our sports programs are gaining momentum and this weight room is a real game-changer,” said Brewer. “Senn is unique in the realm of having all types of students, from all over the world, a big immigrant population, and with these new facilities we hope to better encourage everyone to take the opportunity to be part of a larger team.” Student Antonio Epps said walking into the newly renovated spaces "looked like a new place." He continued, "It looked pretty cool. We got our logo around the school now, so, I don't know, it feels pretty good."
Senn High School's Principal, Holly Dacres stated she felt emotional when she found out her school was selected for the Team8 Tour because the facilities had limited, aging equipment. "It looked very barren before," said Chris Rubright, Vice President of Programs & Grants at the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. "A lot of hodgepodge hand-me-down, half-damaged equipment." She was also told by a former student-athlete that these upgrades are equivalent to a college athletic facility. “They fixed up and scrubbed this place down to the floor,” Dacres said. “All this helps us show student how much we value them. It’s an investment that’s going to invest in them.”