The longstanding tradition of high school athletic banquets will live on after the district compromised with its student-athletes.
At the end of each athletic season, Lacey Township High School teams get together at separate banquets to celebrate individual and team accomplishments and their Lacey pride. in force against a proposed idea to have a combined banquet at the end of each season rather than individual celebrations for each team.
“There’s a warm and fuzzy feeling about banquets and that’s what the students didn’t want to give up,” Athletic Director Karen Hughes said.
Following the September school board meeting, the administration met with student-athletes. Hughes said she was impressed by how the students handled the issue saying a “happy medium” was reached.
Upon the new school year, Hughes proposed the change.
“I wanted to make it a little more student centered,” she said in September.
By combining the banquets into one celebration at a larger venue, the students accomplishments would be recognized among other student athletes, generating more cohesion, she previously said.
The school district follows a process when developing new ideas, high school Principal James Handschuch said. The parents who came out to the school board meeting acted before administration had the opportunity to talk to the students.
After speaking with the students, the district decided each sport can continue to hold its individual banquet at the end of the athletic season and coaches may attend. Freshmen, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams may attend those banquets.
“It was a no-brainer,” Hughes said of the district listening to the student’s wishes. “They’re our people.”
The district will also be holding a large-scale ceremony in the high school auditorium at the end of each season to recognize the teams and varsity student-athletes as a whole, Hughes said.
“This is a great opportunity for kids to have traditional and seasonal (celebrations),” Handschuch said. “It’s a great venue for all the sports to be recognized.”
The individual banquets will recognize team awards, letter winners and whatever each team individually celebrates, she said, while the combined ceremony will honor MVPs, academic award winners, the Golden Paw, letter winners (as a group for each year) and team successes.
“It’s about bragging a little bit too,” Hughes said.
The event will also feature refreshments donated by the Parent Teacher Student Association and Boosters. The marching band is also on board to perform.
Hughes’ hope is that the superintendent, a school board member and Handschuch will address the athletes during the ceremony.
The event will be videotaped and a professional photo will be taken of all the senior varsity athletes together, which has never been done before, Hughes said. The photo will be provided free of charge to the athletes.
Hughes described the large-scale ceremony as “something special.”
“We’re really looking forward to it,” Handschuch said.