Don Warren worries about middle school sports being eliminated if the second referendum fails in the Colonial School District. Warren is the assistant track coach for 25 boys at George Read Middle School. He says the biggest challenge for his boys isn’t trying to out-run their peers. Instead, all of the boys work hard to beat him, at age 69! So far, only one student has accomplished that feat this season, and only one the year before.
“Their goal is to out-run me, and it makes them work harder, and they have something in mind that they want to achieve,” Warren says.
The retired Marine helps teachers in the classroom as a paraprofessional at George Read when he isn’t competing in track and field himself. Last year he came in fourth-place at the Penn Relays, and he’s preparing to compete again when the 65-69 age division hits the track April 28 in Philadelphia. Warren has also been invited to compete in Virginia’s Senior Olympics in May after being ranked 10th in the nation out of 183 others in the U.S. Amateur Track and Field Association. That’s not all; Warren won first-place gold medals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s Mid-Atlantic Senior Olympics. While the 100, 200, 50 and 4X100 relays are his specialty on the track, at school; he says it’s his boys.
“ I tell them it takes positive thinking and having the will to be able to accomplish something and not allowing someone to say you can’t do it.”
Warren hopes voters have a positive attitude when they go to the polls so that middle school sports will remain in place. Otherwise, he says, “ I think it will hurt the students; it’s something they need. They need those activities to keep themselves occupied and to give them a set of goals to accomplish things. In my opinion, without the sports it would almost be like the cities of Wilmington and Chester, without anything for the children to do so they’re just out there in the streets,” Warren said.
Warren is also among the many Colonial employees who volunteer time after school to help students in other ways. He created a program for boys called “Young Men Of Valor.” Warren says his program is designed to teach male students how to act like gentlemen. He says he mentors boys and teaches them things that aren’t always taught at home, like how to treat young ladies, how to dress properly, how to respect elders, and he encourages his boys to willingly help around the house, especially if they’re with single moms.
In short, Don Warren wants his boys to be winners in the game called life, and he hopes other adults in the district do too. “I just want to be an inspiration to the students, so they’ll never give up,” he said adding he’s not giving up hope that more adults will support the June 6 referendum so programs like middle school sports will be saved.