Students leaving Frink Middle School and Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School flow into the sports programs at North Lenoir High School every school year, but the North Lenoir Athletic Booster Club emphasized the connection with recent donations of $1,000 each to the two middle school athletic programs.
“We’re trying to do capital investments at North Lenoir High School, and we figured what bigger capital investment than to invest in the middle schools and get students familiar with what they’ll have when they move up to the high school level,” said booster club president Gary Alphin.
This is Alphin’s first year leading the booster club and the first time the club has donated to the middle schools; but it’s not intended to be a one-off gift, according to Alphin. “We hope to do this every year,” he said.
The money will go primarily for uniforms and equipment, athletic directors at both middle schools said.
“We need uniforms and equipment and we’re contemplating equipment to help maintain our fields,” David Owens, an athletic director at CSS, said.
“My basketball girls, their uniforms don’t fit. We tape them up every game,” said Frink teacher, coach and AD Kristen Davenport. “Them having new uniforms, having the confidence that comes with wearing them, will let them show their school pride. I think how they’re dressed is a big thing.”
Alphin also hopes strengthening the connection between North Lenoir and the two middle schools that funnel students into it will raise awareness about what awaits middle school athletes at the next level.
“I would probably guarantee the majority of kids (in middle school) don’t realize we have wrestling, tennis, softball, track and field – so many opportunities they’re not used to,” he said. “The athletic booster club at North Lenoir supports all athletics, not just football, baseball and baskeball.”
The booster club fills its treasury a little at the time through myriad fundraisers like barbecue chicken sales and raffles and through profits from concession stands at sporting events – a labor intensive process that draws on the time and energy of a corps of supporters.
“This doesn’t happen with just one person,” Alphin said. “Our booster club has a lot of dedicated parents. There’s not a coach, an athletic director or a teacher that can do it without parental support because everything starts in the household.”
On hand for the two check presentations, LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams brought a special perspective as a former principal of both Frink and North Lenoir.
“We greatly appreciate what the North Lenoir Athletic Booster Club is doing to help the middle schools,” he said. “I think it works toward building vertical teaming for the booster clubs, and certainly we’re all working toward the same things – our middle schools and high schools – in building our athletic programs. This donation certainly helps to do that. We appreciate the generosity of Mr. Alphin and the booster club leadership for making this a reality.”