Friday night’s American Legion annual Christmas celebration awarded its Community Service Award to two very deserving men, Bob Brown and Jack Page.
(Gazette Photo-Benjamin Patton)
The award was given for their long community service records and especially for their leadership in the establishment of the Belmont Historical Society.
Both men were invited to the celebration to introduce the other as the Community Service award recipients. Mayor Richard Boyce and long time legionaire, Art Shoemaker, turned the tables on both by having Mayor Boyce introduce them to the assembly.
The annual Christmas celebration at the Legion Post on Park Drive was attended by current Mayor Boyce, and past mayors, Billy Joye and Kevin Loftin. Newly elected city council member, Ron Foulk was in attendance as well as the re-elected Charlie Flowers and former council members Becky Burch and Arlene Flowers. County Commissioner Mickey Price was present as well.
Joye served as emcee in his own inimitable way introducing honored guests and community stalwarts. Coaches John Devine and Mickey Lineberger were recognized as well as former Belmont Banner editor, Dwight Frady.
Art Shumaker announced that Mickey Lineberger would be the Belmont Braves Legion baseball coach for this upcoming season.
Shannon Angel, a 1991 Red Raider graduate entertained the crowd with several Christmas songs and carols.
Youth leaders from the community were introduced and each spoke briefly about their experiences of the Legion-sponsored event that they had been selected to attend.
Legion baseball player-representative Nick DeMarsico thanked the Legion Post 144 for sponsoring the baseball team each year and how he enjoyed playing through the summer to keep his skills sharp.
Girls State representatives Lindsey Hawkins, Caitlyn Reese, Katie Dare Payseur, Emily Scruggs, and Ashley Baker. The young women had attended the Girls State program at Catawba College this past summer, and each expressed their gratitude for the leadership development opportunity. Boys State Representatives for the summer program were, Trevor Reeves, Matt Crane, Cameron Matthews, Andrew Pierce, and Omar Baroudi.
Have you ever seen a ruff, tuff football player making the rounds, hat in hand, to sell fruit during the holidays? At the local churches for the “pre-game” meal served to South Point football players, do most of them thank the preparers/servers with a handshake or a word of praise? It must be a God-given right for football players to have a trainer, doctor, and multiple coaches along the sideline to “guide these young men and leaders” through the intracacies of high school life. The message is, “someone else will take care of you”. What are they teaching their charges about life?
Not so, for the so-called “non-revenue sports and extracurricular activities”. Scraping by every year to teach fine arts at the high school level, teachers employed by the school system, resort to what amounts to begging for leftovers through piddly-fundraisers. Nickels and dimes are raised to offset the thousands of dollars necessary to operate a band or theater program.
At South Point for example, the band instructor, Tim Hamilton, has as many as 80-100 students in the marching/concert band class in fourth period. John Devine, PE teacher, has as many as 6-10 coaches, some of those are volunteer-daddies, for 60 players. Players from South Point are also fed, visiting teams as well, after each home game — granted, a couple of hotdogs/hamburgers — but still fed, while the band has to run out to the local McDonald’s to get hamburgers at a reduced rate. According to SPHS Booster Club (re: FOOTBALL), this is because, “If we fed the band, we wouldn’t have enough to sell”.
Football, and all sports for that matter, are extracurricular activities, just like Band, cheerleading, French Club, and Moot Court. We would expect as taxpayers, that the various school sports booster clubs respect the students and families that PAY to see the football darlins’ — in the case of the Red Raiders — HOME and AWAY.
The 70 or so banner sponsors(at $300 a pop), Ray McKenney, and the Football Boosters should also support the Marching Band, which is an important part of the Friday Night High School Tradition.
We are calling on our Belmont friends and neighbors to help support the bands and fine arts programs at South Point. Participate in their fundraising activities and consider “adding” some dollars to your contribution for their effort.
You can call the school, 704-825-3351 to get band contacts, and contacts for the other programs as well.