WILMINGTON – For the first time in the school’s history, St. Mark’s was to host an athletic contest under the lights on campus the weekend [after this edition of The Dialog went to press]. The Spartans were scheduled to battle Newark in football Saturday night.
According to principal Mark Freund, the ability to play night games on campus has been a dream of many in the school community almost since St. Mark’s opened in 1969. It was made possible at this time thanks to a “generous donation” by David and Lisa Spartin, whose son, Matthew, graduated this past June.
Freund said the couple wanted to acknowledge the work of the school’s EMMAUS program with Matthew Spartin, particularly by Geri Talley, its director.
EMMAUS stands for Education Maximizing Mastery and Achievement Using Self-advocacy. It’s is a program that helps students with specific learning or language disabilities, or attention deficit disorder.
In exchange for their gift, the Spartin family requested that the lacrosse field in front of the school be named Talley Field.
School officials did not disclose the amount of the donation by the Spartin family, nor the total cost of the project.
According to the school, having lights on campus will mean more scheduling flexibility than was capable at St. Mark’s traditional football home, Baynard Stadium in Wilmington. Baynard Stadium is used by several high schools and other programs, so time slots are at a premium.
Also, St. Mark’s location is more accessible and convenient for more students, their families and alumni.
St. Mark’s will keep one home game at Baynard Stadium, its battle with archrival Salesianum. The teams meet this year on Nov. 11, with St. Mark’s the “home” team.
“The game historically draws an attendance that’s too large for our facilities to accommodate,” Freund said.
In addition to football, the St. Mark’s newly illuminated field will also be the site of Catholic Youth Ministry football, and other St. Mark’s sports, including boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, and girls’ soccer.