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What happened to the EHS Boosters?

There was something missing from EHS’s Friday night football games this season. No barbecue and no lollipops. This is because the EHS Boosters have been in flux. 

The Essex Athletic Booster Club is a non-profit organization, made up of parent volunteers whose mission is to support and donate funds to the athletic department. The funds raised are used in a variety of ways to support the EHS interscholastic athletic teams.

Brian Donahue, Chief Operating Officer at EWSD Central Office, explained what caused this year’s Boosters absence.

In August of this year, Jeff Greene, the long-time president of the Essex Boosters, announced his retirement after fourteen years of service,” Donahue said. “The district is incredibly grateful for all he has done, especially considering that during most of Jeff’s service, he did it as a committee of one. In charge of everything from equipment maintenance to grocery shopping, Jeff took on any responsibilities the organization required.” 

Without Greene’s leadership, it was difficult to reorganize his efforts. 

“While he succeeded over the years in encouraging “team parents” to help coordinate concession volunteers, the community’s interest in Boosters’ clerical, administrative, and leadership roles dwindled significantly,” Donahue said. “In the short term, with the news coming just weeks before the start of school, it has been challenging to meet the needs and expectations immediately.”

Danny McCaffrey, a parent volunteer with the EHS Boosters, is working with others to bring the Boosters back.

“It lost its momentum,” McCaffrey said. “And we as community members are revitalizing it and restructuring it to be a more viable committee.”

Restructuring will be important for the Boosters success. 

“On January 9, 2024, we met as individuals to discuss the current state and what is needed in order, as directed from Brian Donahue, to move forward,” McCaffrey said. “The first step that we had to do is designate a board of directors. So myself and three other individuals were placed on a nomination committee to get the word out to those individuals who expressed interest in being part of the board of directors.”

While it may be a slow process, the new board is aiming for sustainability. 

“A transition such as this, after such a long tenure, will take some time, and it should be a process that involves our staff, students, and spectators,” Donahue said. “In the meantime, we want to thank Jeff and the countless volunteers throughout the years who generously gave their time and talents to our school community.”

There was a meeting on March 21st that solidified a new board of directors to run EHS Boosters. It now consists of four board members: Katie Spaeder, John Jorschick, Mike McCaffrey, and Lynn Holcomb. 

“This school year, there wasn’t really much notification out to the public and the students, so that first football game everyone expected concessions to be open and there was nothing,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb explained the steps need to be taken in order to bring back the Boosters.

“We have been working on all the logistics of starting this business from scratch as everything prior, was discontinued and ended,” Lynn said. “We basically need to build this from the ground up, meaning applying for insurance, obtaining a tax code, rebranding, acquiring a billing/mailing address, starting a social media presence, finding funds to help with all of the initial startup costs, etc.” 

“One of our members, he’s already contacted the state to get our name reinstated,” Holcomb said. “He’s been able to obtain a mailbox and a physical address for us. The other woman, she has been able to get us domains for business emails.”

The committee is in the process of filling out insurance forms and working on their 501c3, a nonprofit tax code, with the help of a Certified Public Accountant. 

“Once we have those two pieces, our ultimate goal is to get a concession stand open for the spring,” Holcomb said. “The community, the school, everyone has missed concession stands this fall and winter. It’s been a huge disservice to not have one for this school year so far. So we’re really hoping to get at least definitely one if not more.”

The Boosters committee wants to meet with the school for permission to use an existing concession stand, particularly the one by the football stadium.

“If we are unable to use that, then we need to come up with a plan B,” Holcomb said. “Do we set up a tent and have some tables and just grab food? Just to start with that and then kind of figure out what we’ll do for next year.”

While there is an existing Boosters store at EHS, it is infrequently open. Holcomb hopes to reinstate selling school merchandise at school events and during school hours.

Boosters store at EHS

“Some of our future goals are to make this more inclusive to not just athletics but maybe try to bring in theater, the clubs like robotics and math,” Holcomb said.

The Boosters want to reestablish their contributions to EHS, and they’re already on the right track. They say fundraising and volunteer work will make their efforts that much more impactful.

“We are going to need to start doing some fundraising,” Holcomb said. “We’re not really sure what that looks like right now, but we have reached out to the Rotary Club and the Essex Lions Club, and they graciously and wonderfully donated money to us.”

Although the absence of the Boosters this year has been unfortunate, the committee and board of directors are doing their very best to bring back the Boosters we all know and love. 

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Scarlett Cannizzaro
Scarlett Cannizzaro, Staff Writer
Scarlett Cannizzaro is a 10th grader and staff writer for The Hive. She is involved in the EHS orchestra, jazz band, and Global Leadership Program. In her free time she enjoys playing violin, drum set, and ballet. You can contact or find her at [email protected].
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