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Sonoma Valley High School gets new golf cart

SONOMA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL Principal Kathleen Hawing stands with donated golf cart and SVHS maintenance staffers (from left) Anthony Albini, Wendell Adams and Douglas Weidemann, and custodial crew members Max Hernandez and Eduardo Martinez. Maria Hawing/Special to the Index-Tribune

SONOMA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL Principal Kathleen Hawing stands with donated golf cart and SVHS maintenance staffers (from left) Anthony Albini, Wendell Adams and Douglas Weidemann, and custodial crew members Max Hernandez and Eduardo Martinez. Maria Hawing/Special to the Index-Tribune

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Once plagued with two golf carts that chugged along ever so slowly, Sonoma Valley High School now has an almost-new, donated cart zipping about, with a second replacement a twinkling possibility, awaiting another wave of community support.

Used mainly by the maintenance crew for hauling, one of the sorry old carts was pressed into passenger service when Principal Kathleen Hawing recently chauffeured a guest across campus. At that moment it was suddenly apparent new wheels were on the high school wish list.

Teacher Support Network volunteer Steve Kyle spends several days a week on campus and had witnessed what he called “the semi-comatose” carts in slow motion. So he sent out an email to his extensive contact list in search of a donation.

“I was hoping someone had one they weren’t using,” he said. Kyle is also a member of Sonoma Golf Cub and asked Jason Goss, the course maintenance manager, if he had a cart to spare. The carts used by golfers are all leased, but it so happened Goss had a barely-used one in the maintenance facility that the club owned. “I’ll see what I can do,” Goss told Kyle.

The next day, golf pro John McMullen gave Kyle the good news that Sonoma Golf Club would donate the cart to SVHS. “Anytime we can help out the community, especially the schools, we’re game for that,” McMullen said. “We’ll survive without it,” he said about the cart, which is in great condition. “They needed it more than we do.”

He pointed out that the club already allows the SVHS golf team to practice and play at the club.

The cart has been delivered to the school and was put to immediate use.

Next, Kyle heard from Sam Morphy and Whitney Evans that the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley had agreed to donate $5,000 toward the purchase of a utility cart, which is a golf cart with a flatbed attached to the back. The Rotary Club is looking to the community to match its $5,000 with an additional $5,000 so it can purchase the $10,000 cart for SVHS.

Hawing couldn’t be happier. “It’s fabulous,” she said about the new cart. “It makes a huge difference for our custodial staff. We are so fortunate to have such a giving community.”

The Teacher Support Network is a group of about 50 volunteers who help out about 30 teachers in Sonoma schools. Kyle pointed out that, beyond the direct work they do with the students, the volunteers being on campus allows the schools to connect with the outside community. “Because we are on campus, we see things,” Kyle said.

And now they will see new carts, thanks to a community that cares.