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T-shirts fuel football scholarships



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Michael McCord models the scholarship t-shirt. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
August 24, 2011 - By Megan Bildner

Review Intern

Few local business owners can claim they annually donate more than $1,000 back to the community like Custom Threads & Sports' Mark and Linda McCord are proud to say.

Custom Threads has been involved in supplying the Lake Orion football program with apparel for the last seven years. The shop also provides Dragon wear, varsity jackets, team and spirit wear.

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What started as making t-shirts and sweatshirts available for football parents to purchase has turned into a special partnership between the McCords, Lake Orion Football PEPP Club, players and their families.

Five years ago, the McCords developed an annual scholarship with the PEPP club for a graduating Lake Orion football player to be used toward college expenses.

This scholarship is funded through the sale of a special scholarship t-shirt. $3 from each shirt sold is put into the scholarship fund. The shirts are $10 up through size adult XL and $12 for 2XL-3XL. They are available for purchase at all Lake Orion home football games, the Custom Threads showroom and, once classes are in-session, the school store.

"We felt this was a way to thank the football program, as well as the parents and students, who support our locally owned business," said Mark McCord. "The concept was a little bit slow to catch on and the first two years of the program we came up a bit short in our shirt sales goal, although the $1,000 scholarships were still given."

The program has become quite a bit more successful over the past two years. Last year, it was fueled by the team's state championship run and the McCords sold enough scholarship t-shirts to award two, $1,000 scholarships, he said.

Given the number of fans that attend Lake Orion games and the community support the team receives, McCord thinks at some point it is conceivable that this program could generate 6-10, $1,000 scholarships per year.

The winner of the annual scholarship is chosen by a committee that includes Coach Chris Bell, McCord, a member of the PEPP Club and sometimes another football Coach. Interested graduating senior football players should fill out an application in the spring and submit it to Coach Bell.

While many factors are considered when choosing scholarship recipients, dedication to the program, leadership, grades and positive visibility in the community carry the most weight, McCord said. Last year's winners were 2011 Lake Orion graduates Blair Williams and Devin Young.

In addition to the scholarship program, Custom Threads & Sports donates four percent of total company sales back into the Lake Orion community, McCord added. The company is located at 2647 S. Lapeer Rd. For more info call 248-391-0088 or visit www.customthreadsandsports.com.

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