PHOTO: Alumni Mia Gladding and Chloe Meyer received the first annual Davis Blue Devil Athletic Booster “Athlete Scholarship” last school year.
By Paige Ochoa,
Out of more than 1,800 students at Davis High, 1,500 students play sports. In just two years since their establishment, the Davis Blue Devil Athletic Boosters (DBDAB) have raised over $50,000 in support of all student-athletes at DHS.
Brainstorming for DBDAB began in the fall of 2017, as several parents of DHS athletes were inspired to provide for all student-athletes and offer a more convenient way for families and community members to attend all DHS sporting events.
After consulting DHS athletic director Jeff Lorenson about their ideas to assist the ease of purchasing tickets and support all DHS athletics, DBDAB board members learned that Lorenson had always wanted to begin an all-sports athletic booster club. He supported the idea, pushing forward the establishment of the program.
Now the non-profit organization includes president Sanford Gladding, secretary Joanne Brennan, treasurer Bill Imamoto, member-at-large Sarah Edson, Chris Ochoa, Murray Traverso, Lorenson as advisor and numerous parent volunteers that help assist the board with Booster committees. The DBDAB group has both directly and indirectly given grants to every team at DHS.
“There’s a pretty big gap between what the operating costs of the programs that are so huge and comprehensive, like at DHS, and what the district actually pays for,” Brennan said. “Every time you play a sport, the coach has to ask parents for donations and because of the huge operating expense gap, so hopefully the Boosters can bridge that gap and start narrowing the amount we’re missing.”
In order to give all teams at DHS equal opportunity to receive grant money, the Boosters follow a specific plan for coaches to follow. Because there are 26 men’s and women’s sports teams fielded at DHS, the Boosters are faced with the challenge of choosing how the money is distributed per team.
“Whenever we have enough cash and a strong operating budget, we then notify all the coaches through the athletic director,” Brennan said. “They have an application they have to fill out by a deadline and they have to give us the specific information and they do a grant proposal.”
According to Brennan, the boosters then review the applications and determine which ones to fund.
“So far we’ve been able to fund most, but some of it comes down to if it’s an ask that is all of the money we have available […] but we try to be equitable and conscious of how many kids are in the program and whether it’s a safety need or whether it’s a want,” Brennan said.
In addition to memberships purchased by parents and community members that ease their access to DHS games and meet needs for all teams through grants, DBDAB also administers a senior scholarship at the end of the year for select student-athletes.
“We’re not able to give a huge scholarship. It’s not like we’re sending someone to college, but it’s exciting as a parent and a Booster to be able to offer that, and maybe someday it will be bigger,” Brennan said.
Last school year, the first DBDAB scholarships were awarded to DHS alumni Mia Gladding and Chloe Meyer.
“We’re not looking to give it to the person who had the best stats and played all four years on varsity,” Brennan said. “We’re giving it to a person who played a sport as a way to enrich their academic time and that shows a lot of other qualities like getting along with people, leadership, resilience, community service, all that stuff, so that’s been gratifying.”
Through efforts from DBDAB, pportunities have continued to rise for student-athletes at DHS that do not have as many out-of-school opportunities to play their sport.
“By being able to have some of this extra money there to ensure these programs continue to run at such sizes, we’re able to help people who may not otherwise be able to play a club sport for financial reasons or they can’t have their parents drive them to practice,” Brennan said. “But they can still participate in school spirit and sports, and they can still workout daily with their team.”
To say the Boosters have made an impact on DHS athletics and student-athletes representing the school is a significant understatement.
“I think it helps enrich some of the students’ lives that maybe are not living the same sort of lifestyle that you and me are,” Brennan said. “If we can keep supporting athletic programs, then our athletic programs continue to be as big and as inclusive as possible.”