What separates the haves and the have-nots of high-school athletics

January 21, 2019 | The Seattle Times

Before every school year, George Foster holds a meeting with all of the coaches at Rainier Beach High School. It’s pretty standard stuff, the Vikings’ athletic director says, with one exception.

“You know our athletic department doesn’t have any money,” he tells them. “So if you want anything, you’re going to have to fundraise yourself.”

Rainier Beach is situated in one of Seattle’s least wealthy, most diverse neighborhoods, where census data shows people of color make up three-quarters of the population, compared to one-third citywide. It’s hung five state championship banners in the last decade and bred a dozen professional athletes since the 1980s. You could fill an NBA starting five with its alumni — or at least one heck of a backcourt. It’s also in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, where the median income — $34,745, according to the latest census data — is less than half that of the average Seattle household.

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