Lending a helping hand

Athletics department appreciates boosters' contributions

January 10, 2001

It's more than just boosting spirit at athletic events for the Tonganoxie Booster Club. It's a mission.

The work of the booster club is evident throughout the community. The club handles a wide range of fund-raisers and is always looking for ways to help athletes and coaches.

"We try to do useful things," said Debbie Breuer, booster club president.

The club includes parents, people in the community and businesses. Of course, there are those who are active and those who only pay dues to support activities.

A majority of funds raised comes from the group's annual membership drive. Currently, the club has about 50 members.

John Lee, athletics director, said the first thing he thinks about when someone mentions the booster club is "kindness, willingness and not afraid to get their hands dirty to get the job done."

Lee said that the booster club is responsive to the needs of coaches and players.

"The parents have basically built the soccer field," Lee said. "Where we fall short, they try to help us if they see a need. The members are proactive instead of laid back. I have to venture to say that I think it is one of the best booster clubs in the league."

The booster club has not always been so active.

For the past five years, Breuer, who became president in 1995, has made it a point to turn the club around and make it an essential commodity for student-athletes at Tonganoxie High School.

"I think we have put a spark back in the school," Breuer said.

The booster club used to only sponsor the athletic banquets.

Now, it also sponsors school dances and provides the food at these events.

"Our very first dance was a Valentine's dance," Breuer said. "Now, they beg us to come and they really have fun."

Breuer said about 10 students showed up for the first dance because they didn't want to go to a dance that their parents were at. Now the junior high students pack the school for each dance.

Most of the money raised to provide services for the district is generated from membership drives and sports' program sales.

The group's main project now is putting a brick courtyard in front of the new multipurpose facility. So far, Breuer has sold 75 to 100 bricks. During track season, the club plans to begin laying the bricks.

Breuer said she is constantly thinking up ideas of what to do next. But, there is only so much that can be done because of time restraints.

"Everything takes a lot of time and organization," Breuer. "Every year I ask myself why I do this."

But Breuer likes seeing the results of the booster club's hard work.

"If you ask my husband, he would think I'm nuts," Breuer said. "But I can't quit."

Originally published at: