Coach hopes comedian’s visit will boost fund


SALEM TOWNSHIP – Nationally known Maine Comedian Bob Marley will be performing at Mount Abram High School on Sunday to raise money for lights on the school soccer fields.

Darren Allen, the Mt. Abram boys soccer coach, is behind the drive for permanent lighting on the fields. Soccer is the sport of choice at the high school, he said. Last fall, 80 of the school’s nearly 330 students were on a soccer team.

But with no lighting at night, practices and games are scheduled so early they occasionally cut into class time, and they never begin early enough for working parents to attend. Allen also contends community game nights have been a big hit when the school has had them. Last year, he said, Mt. Abram rented generator-powered lights for a night game, and more than 200 people attended.

Allen and a group of parents formed a light committee nearly a year ago to raise the $35,000 needed to pay for the lights, and after months of raffles and other fundraising efforts, have raised $20,000. Allen hopes the Marley show will help close the $15,000 gap.

Soccer is the sport of choice at Mt. Abram, Allen said. This year, more than 80 of the approximately 300 students at the high school were on either a JV or varsity team. Without a football team, all of Mt. Abram’s homecoming events take place around soccer games, and Allen said he believes that if games could be held during times when community members were able to attend them, soccer games could become a social occasion for SAD 58 residents.

Mt. Abram freshman and varsity player Rebecca Freeman agreed, saying she is excited about the large numbers of fans lighting might draw to games. “We got to rent them one time this year and it brought a huge crowd in,” she said.

Allen meets with a group of Mt. Abram parents and community members once a month to discuss fundraising strategies for the lighting campaign, which the group named, “Light the Mountain.”