PHOTOS: The many projects of the MHS Athletics Boosters, including new football uniforms in honor of Robert “UB” Hickey, the new lower turf scoreboard dedicated in honor of Kathy Szostak and the human bounce ball race.
Bill and Pam Bryant had the hope and the vision when they took on the task of spearheading the reorganizing and reviving of the Methuen High School Athletics Boosters Club.
All sports, all parents, on all levels. Working together.
The MHS parents are happy to report that into year two of the Boosters Club rebuild, the Methuen Boosters continue to grow.
“It’s all about one Methuen, really,” said Bill Bryant, president of the group. “Yes, this is the MHS Boosters, but we want the youth parents and high school parents all working together, sharing in fundraising, sharing in ideas. That’s how we’ll be able to constantly keep strong, with a constant flow of parents and families working together at every level. And I think we all see that we’re getting there.”
The money raised by the Boosters has helped supplement the funding given to the MHS Athletic Department, ensuring that student athletics get proper uniforms and equipment to compete at the highest levels. Athletic director Matt Curran and Bryant worked together over the winter to come up with a list of funded projects to tackle for the spring.
MHS Athletic Boosters “first family” Bill and Pam Bryant.
The Boosters will help pay for new cheerleading mats, new boys basketball uniforms, boys lacrosse helmets, girls tennis uniforms and new blue football jerseys. The organization is also redoing the baseball scoreboard at Skeets Scanlon Field, turning a neglected and inoperable piece of technology into a functioning scoreboard for the Rangers.
In addition, the Boosters will pay for a Rangers logo backdrop to be used for photos, college signing day events, and other media events where the school is in the spotlight. The backdrop is much like you see behind the players during the Celtics or Red Sox post-game press conferences.
The newest round of funded projects is just the latest in a constant flow of funds donated back to the school by the offshoot of the Methuen Athletic Improvement Committee.
The group helped in the 2017 funding of the lower turf scoreboard donated by the Szostak family in honor of Kathy Szostak, a MHS standout from the Class of ’79 who passed away from brain cancer at the age of 32.
They also paid for and installed new ice machines in the fieldhouse and the new football clubhouse, thanks to volunteer installers Doug Allbee and John Doucas.
Because of the Boosters’ efforts, the football team got new white jerseys and pants, the field hockey team got new uniforms, the volleyball team got a new ball cart, the hockey program received nearly $2,000 toward the renovation of the boys and girls locker rooms before the 2017-18 season, and the fieldhouse concessions server window was built, converting a storage shed into a concession stand that has been a boon for all the sports programs, increasing concessions revenues exponentially both at MHS team events and non-school events held on campus.
The Bryants are not afraid to get creative in funding projects for the student athletes. When a popcorn machine was suggested to help increase concession revenues, Bryant took to Facebook and raised the $850 to buy the equipment, all from donations from small business owners and youth sports supporters.
The Boosters did the same thing when they had the opportunity to inherit a set of human bouncy balls. Bryant got local businesses to sponsor a ball and set up races at each football home game. The Boosters plan to go bigger and better with the bouncy balls this fall.
The organization took root during the MAIC’s successful renovation efforts for Nicholson Stadium, where they galvanized community and city officials’ support and donated $60,000 to pay for the sound system for the renovated stadium.
Bryant said it was during the constant organizational meetings that he saw the best of what Methuen could be.
“We had leaders of every youth sports organization there, not fighting for field space or funds for kids, but working together, and it made us see what we’re capable of when we’re at our best,” Bryant said.
The Bryants and their ever-growing legion of parent volunteers are diligent in promoting events and recruiting new Booster volunteers through social media, a key value proposition to selling businesses on getting behind the student athletes group.
“They know we’re constantly pumping their message to thousands of supporters on Facebook and all over social media, so that exposure is a win-win for everyone,” he said.
One thing Bryant wanted to make sure that parents and interested volunteers understand: The Methuen All Sports Boosters is not a secret society.
“We get asked that all the time, like who do I need to know to be able to join or to help out. I say, ‘You’re looking at him,’” Bryant said. “Anyone interested can connect with us on Facebook @MethuenHighBoosters or email me at email@example.com and we will get you signed up and ready to rock.”
While the group is still technically in its infancy, Bryant said that with continued organization and planting the seeds for the future, the Boosters are destined to help MHS Athletics continue to grow, and he already sees that the athletes and their families notice the impact the group is making.
“It’s pretty incredible the amount of student athletes that have come to realize the importance of the Boosters for their individual teams. It’s been overwhelming for Pam and I to be able to impact the teams, the athletes and the families. It’s pretty wild,” Bryant said. “This is the best of what communities can be, building each other up one step at a time.”
BOOSTERS ORGANIZE POKER FUNDRAISER
The MHS Athletic Boosters are currently working on a charity poker tournament, where a dozen local “celebrities” and youth sports leaders will play Texas hold ‘em poker on MCTV, each playing for a different youth sports organization.
Boosters president Bill Bryant said the idea is for each player to raise $250 from local businesses, who will be promoted during the broadcast. The first, second and third place finishers in the tourney will win money for their organization and the poker player will get their name on a big, shiny trophy that will reside with the winning program each year in what Bryant hopes to turn into an annual event.
Dates for the tournament are still being worked out. The Boosters are still looking for businesses to sponsor players, either as a full sponsor or partial sponsor. For more information, contact Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org.