Where tradition begins with community
My style of writing was recently described as “spirited.” I guess once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader. But now, instead of rooting for my athletic peers, I choose to cheer for my adopted town of Beaufort and its neighboring islands. I communicate my thoughts and aspirations, my will to win and my acceptance of loss through writing now, as opposed to chanting to crowded stadiums and gymnasiums. But the goal is still the same. I hope to make people appreciate the institution of community.
As a new contributor to Lowcountry Weekly, I am thrilled to begin my new column, an in-depth look at the people, businesses and organizations that shape our community with a group who embodies unity, tradition and everything positive about making our town a hometown: the Big Green Booster Club at Beaufort High School (BGBC).
For a few weeks now, a small group of Beaufort residents, both parents and non-parents of BHS students, have been diligently working to make significant improvements to Eagle Field, home to the high schools’ football, soccer, track and field and cheerleading teams. But Eagle Field is just the start. This Booster Club is determined to put Beaufort High School’s entire athletic complex and boisterous pride on the Region-AAAA map. They want to encourage all teams, including baseball, basketball, volleyball, softball, wresting, swimming, golf and tennis as well as those previously mentioned to succeed and feel appreciated by their biggest fans…the people of Beaufort!
Mike Ingram, Scott Dennis and Trey Ambrose have taken the reins and called in favors from many volunteers and businesses to improve the look of Eagle Field. In fact, there are many “Type-A’s” involved. In a matter of a few short weeks, corporate, individual and even student leadership has transformed an average-looking facility into a preferred destination for Friday Night Lights.
Trees have been pruned and shaped in the parking lot and along the corridor between the school and the stadium. The Press Box has been painted and will don a prominent, “Welcome to Eagle Field.” The goal posts have been painted a sick (high school lingo) DayGlo Saturn yellow and marked with neon orange wind flags, conveying the eminence of professional, NFL status. Ample landscaping in front of and behind the grandstand, around the scoreboard and flagpole and throughout the parking lot has been installed. New light poles have been mounted in the gallery of the stadium for safety. Trashcan receptacles have been placed around the entirety of the field. And, a new picnic area has been constructed, designed for family-style seating.
All of this work is suggesting a great sense of pride among parents of athletes at the school, the athletes themselves and the community at large. The physical improvements represent a greater purpose to the “Friends of the Program,” a name this group has dubbed themselves to attract a variety of boosters.
The Friends of the Program want to initiate a buzz around Beaufort every Friday night. They want Beaufort High’s intrinsic school spirit to resonate throughout town. And I can attest, this coastal high school has some good old fashioned, raise the roof kind of vibe! So why not get the rest of the community on board? Hey, it’s high school sports we’re talking about… the best kind of competition out there!
In addition to the sweat equity these volunteers are pouring into Eagle Field, BGBC will also be starting new traditions around town and encouraging elementary and middle school parents to take the torch when they’re gone. They want Lady’s Island businesses to show their support for the Eagles by wearing team jerseys and flying Beaufort Eagle flags (both provided by BGBC) and displaying words of encouragement on marquees on home football games.
BGBC will initiate the “Eagle Walk” this year, along the corridor from the school to the stadium before each home game. Fans are encouraged to surround the path, which will be lined with Eagle flags, and cheer for the 2011 Varsity football team as announcements are made that the team is approaching.
In addition, BGBC has created a “Home Run Club,” “Touchdown Club,” “Goal Club,” etc, etc. to encourage fans to pledge a dollar amount for the particular sport they would like to sponsor. In a given year, the number of home runs, touchdowns, goals, etc. will indicate the total amount due to the team. It’s a great way to donate to a team of your choice and enhance the program, i.e. make them want to score more.
The new picnic area is a terrific location for families to enjoy food from a variety of vendors. Sure, the booster club will make money from concessions of their own; but they’ve also invited area restaurant owners to capitalize in order to create a “food court” atmosphere, so that the entire family can enjoy together time as well as individual preferences. As a mother of two arguing daughters, that appeals to me! And it should also appeal to visiting fans. They’ve spent the better part of a Friday afternoon traveling, and BGBC wants them to choose the stadium as their dinner spot.
I haven’t even mentioned all the good food that will be there. We’re talking pizza, barbeque, seafood, hamburgers and hot dogs the way you like ‘em… fast, inexpensive and from reliable, familiar vendors.
Now, I’ve talked a lot about what BGBC is doing, but there is a lot more that needs to be done. Recently, the group hosted a fundraiser at the new Port Royal Pasta Company, located at 1430 Ribaut Road and owned by Steve Leverton and Keith Potts. BGBC invited alumni, area business owners and future “Friends of the Program” to elicit funds. Cooter Ramsey of Allison & Ramsey Architects presented renderings of the prospective master plan of Eagle Field, including a proposed Hall of Fame Park.
Impressive as the renderings look, the progress is certainly not going to happen overnight. And neither the present budget, nor the current leadership of BGBC will be around in the next few years to complete the vision. So this cocktail party and presentation was important to get the word out and start the buzz. And that it did. The event raised $3295, which is an impressive start on a long financial journey.
Kudos to Jonolyn Ferreri, Jessica Brown, Scott Dennis, Kathy Clark, Emlee Pylant, Trish Caulder, all officers of the Big Green Booster Club and corporate sponsors, NBM Builders, Pro-Slab, AMIkids Beaufort, D&S Heating & Cooling, Easy Rentals, Serve-Pro, Mazanna’s Landscaping, SCE&G, Sea Island Tree Care, Martin and Lindsey Landscaping, Valley Crest Landscaping, Gasque and Associates, Allison & Ramsey Architects, Palmetto Site Prep, Port Royal Pasta Company, Beaufort Glass and Stokes Honda for building the foundation and momentum of this project. Forthcoming leaders and imminent supporters should take note and extend thanks.
Beyond the dollars raised and the needed funds to come, outside of man-hours and labor, the Big Green Booster Club represents an innate concern and appreciation for Beaufort High School Athletics. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all teachers. BGBC is teaching the youth at BHS pride and ownership of working hard, regardless of the outcome. It’s a lesson we can all relate to in these economic times. Perseverance and maintenance of individual and community dignity trumps monetary wealth any day.
The football team’s motto is, “One Team, One Family.” Coach Mark Clifford’s words inspired me to come up with the title my new column, “Our Town.” If I can only begin to communicate via Lowcountry Weekly the same sense of pride of community that this football team has demonstrated under Coach Clifford’s guidance, I will have done my job.
I look forward to working with you, my Lowcountry friends. This is Our Town.
What can you do to help?
Donate to the Big Green Booster Club and become a Friend of the Program. Simply visit www.bhsbgbc.org or call Jonolyn Ferreri at (843) 986-4093 or Jessica Brown at (843) 379-1776 for more information.
Show your support by wearing BHS football jerseys and flying Eagle flags on home football games. If you’d like more information about your business taking part in this spirited activity, please call the Jersey Girl at (843) 263-3216.
Participate in BGBC’s Banner Program. Have a banner hung at eagle Field in the fall and at the baseball and softball fields during the spring. Your name will also appear in the program and will be announced at all home games. There are different levels, MVP, All-Star, VIP and Teammate. For more information, please call Scott Dennis at (843) 321-0944.
Go to Beaufort High School Athletic games and show your support for the Eagles.
BEAUFORT HIGH SCHOOL
Varsity Football 2011
8-26-11 Hilton Head Island High School Home 7:30
9-2-11 Battery Creek High School Home 7:30
9-9-11 * Fort Dorchester High School Home 7:30
9-16-11 Stratford High School Away 7:30
9-23-11 West Ashley High School Home 7:30
9-30-11 James Island Charter High School Away 7:30
10-7-11 Wando High School Away 7:30
10-14-11 *Ashley Ridge High School Home 7:30
10-21-11 * Colleton County High School Away Away 7:30
10-28-11 * Summerville High School Away 7:30
11-4-11 Goose Creek High School Home 7:30
* Region Games
For schedules of all Beaufort High School Fall Sports, please visit www.bhsbgbc.org