by Kim Gendron, Athletics Communications Coordinator
Christ Church Episcopal School has a rich athletic history that continues today, with about 74% of Upper School students participating in at least one sport. Our athletic department has been successful over the years, but it would not be where it is today without the support of the CCES Booster Club.
The Booster Club serves our school community through athletics in a number of ways. They help at games, managing both the concessions and gates. They help to produce the Sports Programs (one for each season) and they host the seasonal Senior Athlete Recognition events. They also serve behind the scenes, helping to fundraise and often splitting costs on big projects that range from installing new lights in the gym to buying equipment for the weight room.
There are 24 current members of the Booster Club with Rey Essex serving as this year’s president. Rey has been a member of the Booster Club for four years and originally wanted to get involved to “help sustain and develop” the athletic facilities and game environments. Rey credits athletics as an influential part of his educational experience and sees it as “a positive part of our community” that should be valued.
Denise Gandis has been a member of the Booster Club for three years. She is currently responsible for membership and will serve as next year’s president. She wanted to join the Booster Club because her three kids have been and are involved in several different sports at CCES. Denise notes that she has really enjoyed being a part of projects affecting some of the sports that can sometimes “fly under the radar”.
Ike Poplin’80 has been a member of the Booster Club ever since his first child enrolled at CCES and he recently served as President. For Ike, being involved is somewhat of a family tradition as his father served as President in the 1970s. He sees the impact that those who came before him had on helping make CCES Athletics what they are today. He wants to continue their work and notes what a valuable impact a strong athletic program can have on students’ educational experiences.
The Booster Club has assisted with over 48 projects in the past five years alone. These range from equipment to electrical work to maintenance for our facilities. Perhaps their most influential work was establishing the Leadership Institute which is now in its third year. The Leadership Institute is a partnership with Synergy Performance and Milt Lowder, a sports psychologist who works with our coaches to create a safe and positive environment for our athletes. This program supports Goal #2 of CCES’s Strategic Plan – Inspire growth, curiosity and tenacity. However, it also allows the depth of care the school has for everyone involved to shine through. Through the Leadership Institute, CCES is able to empower coaches to create a setting where their athletes can develop not just physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The fact that so many students are involved in athletics speaks to how well they feel supported and it starts from the top, with the school as a whole, the athletic department and the Booster Club.
The Leadership Institute will have a lasting impact on athletes even after they leave CCES. However, there are many other projects that the Booster Club is proud to have assisted with and others that they are excited for in the future. Some notable past items they have helped with include: the clock for the swim team, new bleachers for Linda Reeves Field, the new sound system in the gym and the weight training facilities. The Booster Club has helped make improvements to athletics communications with the Go Cavs app, creating social media platforms as well as newsletters for both alumni and families. The coaches and teams are so important in how the school is represented to the outside community and the Booster Club wants to continue to be a support in that area.
So much of what the Booster Club does may go unnoticed by the average person just because so much of it is behind the scenes. When asked what they would want the CCES community to know about the Booster Club, these three members had some wonderful insights. Rey notes that the Booster Club is simply “a team of passionate parents” who wants everyone to have a great experience now but also recognizes that the money they have can be used in ways that will impact CCES athletics for years to come. Denise wants to acknowledge that everything they do is only made possible through everyone who supports the Booster Club. Without other people’s memberships and support, the Booster Club would not be able to help the teams, coaches and athletic department the way they do. Ike believes there are three things that define the CCES Booster Club: passion, parents and participation. He is proud of the “culture as well as the involvement of all the parents who volunteer to make CCES athletics the best it can be.”
CCES athletics would not be where it is today without the support of the Booster Club. We are so thankful for all the hard work they put in to improving the program not just now, but for years to come. Go Cavs!
Click here for more information on the Booster Club and ways to get involved and click here for more information on CCES Athletics.