ENFIELD — It may be one of the best team efforts, and biggest assists, in Mascoma Valley Regional High School’s sports year.
The school’s Student Athlete Leadership Training (SALT) Team, part of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Life of an Athlete program, recently coordinated members of the Mascoma Valley Royals boys’ basketball team and High School building staff in a food distribution. The SALT Team promotes teamwork and inclusive collaboration among student athletes, encourages student leadership development and promotes healthy life choices around health, athleticism, teamwork and substance issues.
The motto of the SALT Team is “Ready to lead, willing to follow, always an agent for positive change.”
Team members, including Issac Rayno, and Cooper Peavey, both senior guards on the basketball team, worked with teammates on Feb, 3 to pack boxes of food donations. School social workers delivered 60 boxes of food items to local families in need.
“It is fantastic to see how the students are taking ownership of their own culture and having a positive impact,” said Eric Ramage, a School Counselor and SALT Team advisor.
The effort is part of “Friends Feeding Friends,” a program of the Friends of Mascoma, a local charity organization, which aims to increase food security and access and to reduce food waste. The Friends of Mascoma also works with the school to stock the high school food pantry and provide snacks for teachers to make available to students in their classrooms.
Various student groups have stepped up this school year to support the food distribution effort, including members of the National Honor Society. On Wednesday, Feb. 10, the SALT Team invited members of the Drama Team and girls basketball team to fill more boxes for distribution in the coming days.
Friends of Mascoma has seen a significant uptick in need in the past few years, so the students’ efforts fill a critical need.
Mascoma Valley’s SALT Team was founded over pancakes. Students Mara Isham, Audrey May, Cameron Stebbins and Rayno attended the annual NHIAA Student Leadership Conference in the winter of 2019. On the way home, the group stopped at Polly’s Pancake House in Sugar Hill and talked about what more they could do to bring that positive change to the school and Mascoma Valley communities.
The four founding members are now seniors. COVID-19 has disrupted many school routines, but the SALT Team has stayed connected, and has grown to 10 members. The group now has a goal of at least one member from every team and every grade.
“I admire the SALT Team’s grit,” Ramage said. “They have found creative ways to express themselves and encourage the whole school during COVID-19.”