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South Salt Lake Journal

Former coach Ron McBride's foundation provides $10,000 grant to Granite Park Jr. High

Jan 11, 2021 12:10PM ● By Brian Shaw

Former Utah Utes football coach Ron McBride provided a $10,000 grant to Granite Park Jr. High. (Photo courtesy Ron McBride Foundation)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

Starting in 2018, the Ron McBride Foundation entered an agreement with the Granite Education Association to provide grants to district schools in need. 

The association's main office just so happens to be located a few blocks from Granite Park Junior High in South Salt Lake. 

But during the program's first two years, Granite Park was not part of the list of growing district schools that received support from the foundation. That all changed this past summer, however, when the foundation gave a $10,000 grant to the school. 

"The grant was written in August," explained Kamaal Ahmad, the school's assistant principal, who added that "Ted Thackery, our instructional coach [at Granite Park] took that responsibility and did an outstanding job." 

In addition to writing the grant, Thackery is also in charge of Granite Park's after-school program.  

"We are definitely thankful for his work here at Granite Park," Ahmad added. 

The grant itself will be allocated primarily toward Thackery's after-school program, according to Ahmad, who said it gives Granite Park the ability to hire extra personnel as needed. 

Another box that will be ticked off the list with this grant is for the school to have the ability to purchase the supplies to boost the students' academic and extracurricular needs. The objective of the grant is rather linear, said Ahmad. 

"Our goal is to develop our students and give them the opportunity to become the very best in their field of interest," he added. "The grant helps us to fund that."  

Another person without whom this grant wouldn't have been possible is Ron McBride, the foundation's namesake and legendary former Utah Utes and Weber State head football coach who just celebrated his 81st birthday recently. 

Coach Mac, as he's affectionately known, even took the time to appear with the kids at Granite Park alongside Ahmad who happens to be a former Weber State assistant coach under Coach Mac and was a player when McBride was an assistant coach at Kentucky. 

"I loved playing for [Coach Mac]. I also loved working for him at Weber State University. He was a father figure for me, and a great mentor," Ahmad said.  

The Ron McBride Foundation has a guiding principle that is a hallmark of its program that will be utilized at Granite Park, called the 3-2-6 It Matters! The 3-2-6 refers to the time after school from 3 to 6 p.m. that even Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famed actor and former governor of California has referred to as "the danger zone for kids." 

The foundation's program focuses its efforts on two pathways. In the first pathway, "the family with the high income has their child participate in after-school services or classes." 

In the foundation's other pathway—which is the one many Granite Park Jr. High students must take according to one South Salt Lake City official—it "does not include parent(s) as they: work excessive hours, can’t pay for a “membership,” can’t transport their child to activities, or struggle to meet the nutrition needs of their children."