Athletic Booster’s brick paver project adorns athletic entrance


Rochester Administration cuts the ribbon across the newest athletic entrance additions, launching the Brick Paver beautification project to the Rochester community.

Morgan Gallagher, Staff Writer

It’s Friday night, which means the stands are full as the Falcons prepare to play football under the lights. The student section is pumping with enthusiasm and excited yells erupt from the rows as cheerleaders perform stunts and blue-clad players blur across the field below.

It’s an exciting, spirited and rather common environment for students. But if you take a closer look you might notice the concession line filling, new varsity jerseys on the players and maybe even a brand new helmet or two. There’s one other key item that is a new addition to the entrance, a legacy brick paver project, sponsored by the Athletic Boosters.

The brick structure and collection of plaques in the surrounding concrete is described as an athletic entrance beautification and fundraiser for athletes, funded by current RHS families, local businesses, memorial funds and RHS alumni. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Friday, Oct. 2, just before the homecoming football game.

Athletic Booster president Mr. John Cloutier explains the nature of the project and how it will benefit RHS athletics.

“The RHS Athletic boosters is conducting a legacy brick campaign as a fundraiser to support our various sports programs and to beautify our athletic entrance,” Mr. Cloutier said. “This is a 10-year project that will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

This project aims to fulfill recognition for participants. The contributions help to provide recognition and memories of the past. Committed students, administration, alumni and others who want to contribute to the project can get in contact with the Athletic Boosters to participate.

“Those that have the ‘falcon vision’ can make a level of contribution of $250 and be recognized on our athletic entrance column of distinction,’” Mr. Cloutier said.

Although various alumni members, parents of student-athletes and general public of RHS make up the bulk of the contributions for this event, other terms of funding are helping out, which gives insight to how the community has embraced this project and RHS pride.

“Local businesses like Hibbelin and Kowal Dental and Briarwood Heating and Cooling have made generous donations to support our efforts and leave their mark at RHS,” Mr. Cloutier said.

Many donations are made from participants who are strongly committed to Rochester High already and have more or less “official” positions, but much of the donations to the brick paver project and athletic boosters as a whole are also due to regular RHS athletes and their families.

“The money that they raise goes to the sports teams, so when my mom would work in the concession stand, a certain amount of money will go to the cross country team or the soccer team,” Madison Payne said. “They’re helping out their own kids and their sports, so I think it makes parents want to participate more.”

Mr. Cloutier explains another reason community members have wanted to donate.

“Bricks and titles have been engraved in memory of Gage Garmo, Rolly Stricker, Maria Linares and other friends/loved ones who have gone before us,” Mr. Cloutier said.

The brick paver project is a medium for commemoration and recognition of contributors and the mark they will leave on Rochester grounds for years to come through their donations.

“The prints from this project are granted to our athletic programs and awarded in the way of student-athlete scholarships,” Mr. Cloutier said.

Overall, the BP project will make an impact on athletics at RHS for years to come, and will motivate and inspire students, especially athletes, to be inspired.

“I think that Rochester athletics have a big part in student’s lives,” junior Madison Payne said. “Maybe not everyone at Rochester, but it’s important for people like me that plan to do athletics in college.”

RHS Athletic Boosters and the work that they do for the student athlete community doesn’t just put across projects like the Brick Pavers, but also hugely supports the Rochester sport participation experience as much as possible. The motivation for athletic boosters in general greatly aid athletics and strive to provide as much positive reinforcement as possible.

“In these difficult economic times and with State of Michigan education cuts, Athletic funding has suffered greatly (along with education in general),” Cloutier said. “As a result, student athletes must Pay to Participate in high school sports nowadays. Other methods of raising funds for our athletic programs has become absolutely essential.”

The motivations of  the athletic booster program translates well in the general population, as many see that the athletics of RHS is an important factor to the student body. Payne, who has experienced multiple aspects of RHS athletic communities, recaps her view on the concept.

“It seems to be working, and somebody needs to be running concession stands and things like that, so it’s going to a good cause. It’s not being wasted. I think it’s a worthwhile idea,” Payne said.

Because so many people support and are willing to participate in funding athletics, the BP project and athletic booster activity has gained popularity and charity in the minds of the RHS athletic community, President of the program John Cloutier recaps.

“This says that we have families that care enough to offer support above and beyond Pay to Participate,” Cloutier said.

The BP project and its funding via athletic boosters is a huge factor in RHS’ sport programs, as they would most likely suffer without it.  Athletic director Luke Beach explains the overall importance of Athletic Boosters in general.

“It is important because the bricks represent our students and the time and activities they participated in while at RHS, and the profit made from this project directly impacts our athletic teams and goes back 100% into our programs.” Beach said.

The funding goes directly to student-athlete activity and provided multiple forms of equipment aid to RHS’ wide collection of teams. The impact is apparent on the RHS Athletic Booster home page, with a full list of the equipment that was completely due to fundraising by the program.

“My sport uses the weight room and other equipment, so the athletic boosters help out a lot,” cross-country runner, soccer player, and swimmer Payne said.

The Brick Paver project leaves such an impact on people affiliated with RHS because it’s providing funds to their own school, where their contributions and sense of community are literally sealed in concrete just outside the athletic entrance.

“By donating a custom engraved brick that is permanently installed in the entrance area, one is leaving a personal and historical footprint for generations to follow,” Cloutier said.

Luke Beach recaps the sense of permanency in the BP project that makes it so revolutionary.

“This gives our alumni the opportunity to leave a piece of their experience behind’ one they can revisit at anytime, while also helping to beautify our athletic entrance,” Beach said.