BCHS Booster Club raising school spirit

BROWNSTOWN — When some of the Brownstown Central High School faculty were students there, they remember joining fellow Booster Club members in painting windows at local businesses.

It was a way to promote school spirit.

Over time, however, they felt that faded.

At the end of the 2022-23 school year, those faculty members, who are now Booster Club sponsors, decided they wanted to revitalize school spirit.

“Bringing the fun back” is the way one of the sponsors, Mendy Ferguson, described it.

Over the summer, the sponsors came up with some ideas for the 2023-24 school year and gathered input from officers. That resulted in a pep session three times a year, spirit week three times a year, a new school store, dressup days and a parking spot painting fundraiser.

The first pep session, which recently was conducted, is a good indicator of what’s to come with school spirit at BCHS.

“All kinds of people, especially the adults, have come to me and said it was so awesome, it was so great,” another club sponsor, Lee Ann Silence, said. “I went to students and they were like, ‘It was so good,’ and some kids didn’t know what a pep session was. They didn’t know what to expect.”

Fall sports athletes were recognized during the pep session, and the school’s band, cheerleaders and drill team participated.

Attending the pep session wasn’t mandatory, so club officers were pleasantly surprised with the turnout.

“How many people decided to actually cheer and do things during it kind of surprised me because it hasn’t been a normal thing for so long,” said junior Presley Hampton, the club’s vice president. “I expected a lot of people to be like, ‘Well, I don’t want to go to that’ or ‘I don’t want to cheer during this,’ but it was nice to see that everybody supports us. I’m hoping that will build up over time.”

Avery Harrison, junior representative for the club, expects attendance to increase.

“I think it’s going to take awhile for students to be on board with it because for so long, it has not been a thing, so it’s going to be hard for them to join it,” she said. “But I think as we keep growing it and keep doing more of them, it’ll be easier for them.”

Junior Jayda Clodfelder, social media representative for the club, said she didn’t think many students besides athletes would go to the pep session, so she was surprised, too.

“Every student had a smile on their face. They were cheering. It was really good,” she said.

Booster Club President Jenna Bolte, a senior, said it was good to see the band, drill team and cheerleaders there because as students go to home football games, they will know what to expect.

“We went over a lot of cheers to get the freshmen in the loop with some of the new cheers, so I feel like it was really fun, and I think everyone had fun,” she said.

Other pep sessions are scheduled for November and April, recognizing winter and spring athletes, respectively, and other school organizations, including academic teams and fine arts.

“We decided instead of it just being all sports, we want to recognize everybody,” Silence said. “We also want to recognize academics.”

Bolte said that was a good decision.

“I personally participate in an academic team and tennis,” she said. “It is nice to just know that you’re supported and everyone recognizes you and the work that you’re putting in for both activities. I think it’s nice to just make everyone feel included so that way, there’s not a gap.”

Last spring, for instance, Hampton said the school’s Spell Bowl team went to the state competition, and many students didn’t know about it.

“Our goal is just to get the word out about everything,” she said. “Our goal is to put that out there so that people are able to support them.”

For spirit weeks, instead of being for one particular sport or activity, they will be for overall school spirit.

Students pay $5 to be in the Booster Club for a school year, and Silence said they are using money generated from dues to give back to students. At a recent home football game, a $10 gift certificate to the school’s new store, The Red Jersey, was given to the winner of a dressup day.

The store was Ferguson’s idea, and she shared that with the other club sponsors after those had been determined. Joining Ferguson and Silence as sponsors are Natalie McGinnis, Karla Rieckers, Becky Perry, Emily Sommers and Kylee Wischmeier.

“There have been a lot of people who have wanted a store for a long time. We don’t have anything here,” Ferguson said.

When asked how she determined what merchandise to carry, she said, “I went shopping, basically, and bought a bunch of stuff for the store. Everything is red and black or Braves themed.”

Many of the items are made by local people who have small businesses. That includes shirts, sweatshirts, jean jackets, shoes, hats, jewelry, door hangers, signs, bags, tumblers, decals, hair bows, hair clips and temporary tattoos. Youth clothing recently was added, too.

The store, which is located in the school’s cafeteria, debuted during back to school night, and it also was open before the first home football game. Moving forward, it will be open from 4:30 to 7 p.m. before home football and basketball games and pregame dinners.

Currently, club officers and sponsors are running the store. Bolte said once more students sign up for the club, members will help man the store.

Proceeds from the store benefit the Booster Club to cover expenses for dances, football homecoming and other events it organizes during the school year.

Another way the club will raise money is parking spot painting from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 3 and 4. Juniors and seniors are invited to pay a fee to paint their parking space at school.

The club also is interested in getting involved in the community, such as painting businesses’ windows, to spread school spirit.

“Even though we’re a super small school, things like sports and stuff bring us all together,” Hampton said. “It’s crazy how our town comes together, and I wanted high school students in the Booster Club to also play a part in putting that together. I love how in the store the other day, a whole bunch of people were coming just to see the store, and they want to help support us so that we could do other things to get more school spirit up.”

The club is on social media, too. That includes a Facebook page for the club and store, where merchandise is pictured and information is shared, and an Instagram page, where teachers, students and athletes are spotlighted on a regular basis.

Silence said she and the other sponsors are excited about the revamped Booster Club. In the past, there was only one club sponsor, so she said having more faculty members involved is a plus.

“It has taken seven of us adults plus a great group of kids to plan things,” she said. “We have amazing students in our Booster Club — amazing. We have a great group of leaders.”