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My name is Holly Miles and I’m a senior attending South Wasco County High School this year. At SWC I’m a very engaged student athlete. I play volleyball, basketball, and run track and field. I also spend a lot of time on my grades and participating in things like ASB (student council) and other school clubs. In the summer I work at my family’s business, Imperial River Company. Imperial is right on the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon and we host thousands of people every year through our whitewater rafting and hotel. Essentially, all of that means that I’m very involved in our little community and am always pushing to better the place I get to call home.

One way that I think we can make our little town that much more unique and special, is through the construction of the Deschutes River Athletic Complex. This DRAC project is very special to me, because when I was in 8th grade I decided that our current non-regulation cinder track facility needed a major upgrade. So after dumping the red dirt out of my track shoes one night after practice, I asked my parents about it. “Why can’t we just get a real track?” has been the tagline from that conversation, and the question that really started the DRAC project.

The first few steps that my parents and I took were determining how we could make this vision of mine happen. We started talking to a few people, including the current Mayor of Maupin, Lynn Ewing, retired soils engineer, Stan Kelsay, late mayor and Air Force Colonel, Denny Ross, and avid local fishing and track advocate, Don Jacklin. The most surprising part about talking to all of these people was how awesome they thought the project was. All of them were totally in, and wanted to do whatever they could to help. To me, that’s the most special part about this project, the overwhelming community support. Because our town is so small, every opinion matters. I also believe that the school is the center of our community. For example, when there’s a state basketball playoff game, you can count on almost the whole town to show up and cheer the team on. Our town also loves the outdoors, that’s why we don’t live in Portland and in the summer we guide whitewater rafting trips. A world-class outdoor track facility will be a safe and accessible space for the whole town to use. Even in the winter, when there’s snow on the ground, there will be people walking around the track taking in the fresh air.

Of course, the school also uses the facility year-round. One special thing about SWC is that it is a K-12 institution, which means that our track and field is used by everyone from grade-schoolers playing kickball during recess to high school athletes training to break state times and take home titles. At the moment, I would be considered a “high school athlete training to break state times and take home titles”. Sports are very special to me, they have always been a safe space for me, along with my friends. My peers and I might not have the most opportunities, since we go to such a small school, but that’s exactly why I want to bring the Deschutes River Athletic Complex to reality this year. If we were able to raise some more money to finish out the project this summer, my classmates and I would be able to enjoy the renovated facility this school year. Ultimately, I would absolutely love to run on a real track my senior year and maybe take home a state title or two. Who wouldn’t? But more importantly to me would be the smiles and awe that would light up the faces of people that I’ve spent nearly my whole life with. I want this project to happen, so that the generations of students waiting for a better tomorrow can have it.

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