OCEANSIDE — The boys volleyball team and Soundwaves Show Choir at Oceanside High School are seeking community donations for big moves this year, including a new coach and the competition trip of a lifetime.
For 20 years, the Pirates boys volleyball team lay dormant until a willing coach and a group of enthusiastic students returned to the program the year COVID-19 struck. While the pandemic hampered the team’s growth, it didn’t stop two siblings who took the helm.
Nathan and Brice Fristed are brothers who currently run the school’s volleyball program, including the boys and girls teams. While the girls team under Nathan is more established, Bryce and the boys squad need a little help moving the financial needle after a two-decade hiatus.
“We’re slowly moving along, but we’ve always been tight on funds,” said Melissa Colon, mother of a senior on the boys’ varsity volleyball team.
To further the boys’ success, the Fristeds want to hire a junior varsity coach, allowing Bryce to focus on building the team’s success. However, after learning that the team and school district lacked funds, Colon launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a new coach.
The team also needs the extra funding to pay for uniforms, equipment, warmup costs and travel gear.
“All of their equipment is old and outdated,” Colon said. “I’m a true believer that if you look good, you feel good on the court — all of those small things matter to the players.”
With the season approaching, Colon hopes to reach a goal of $6,000 within the next 30 days.
Like the boys volleyball team, the Soundwaves Show Choir is also fundraising for an upcoming big trip to Boston for a competition in March.
While the Soundwaves Show Choir is a decades-long tradition for OHS, the choir went through a rough spell until Choir and Vocal Director Leah Ritt came along in 2011. As a result, the show choir is now in its fifth successful competition year.
“When I came along, we had eight kids… now we have 33,” Ritt said.
The show choir currently shares a choreographer with the John Burroughs High School show choir in Burbank, known as one of the best show choirs in the nation. The two choirs will travel to Boston together for the Waltham Eastern Show Choir Festival.
While the choir’s cost to travel has been covered for the most part, the group needs extra funds to cover costumes and a set, both expensive yet essential elements to show choir competitions.
“We can’t compete without a great set and costumes,” Ritt said on the choir’s GoFundMe page.
The money will also go to providing meals for students during the trip so that the students who have already saved and paid for the trip don’t have to worry about bringing more money along for food.
The choir hopes to raise $15,000 by March for a trip that will be a lifetime opportunity for many of the students, Ritt said.
“This will be the first time on a plane for some of them,” Ritt said.
While the two fundraising groups are quite different – one being a sports team and the other being a performing arts team – both groups have provided valuable growth opportunities for participating students.
“This sport has allowed new friendships and community connections, and it has taught my son to be open, responsible, find passion and become a leader,” Colon said about the volleyball team.
On a similar note, Ritt mentioned how her students have grown in confidence, responsibility and talent over the years.
“Programs like this are so important for our students to keep them connected to their schools and to give them a place where they can explore leadership opportunities and confidence building,” Ritt said about the show choir. “They grow into incredible human beings who are confident and capable. They make their parents cry when they get on stage… the growth these kids go through is huge.”