The Commissioner's Cup Competition winners for the 2021-2022 Academic Year participated in and documented a team or athletic associated group performing some type of service project or community service. Schools had their team or teams identify a need within the community and create a plan to conduct the service project. Each winning program receives a $1,000 stipend for their respective team or school athletic program.
4A Winner – Green Level High School
The Green Level High School Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT) participated in eight community service projects. The highlight of their year was the Student-Staff Basketball Game. The group wanted to serve people directly in the Green Level community, so they decided to sponsor a student in need, within their own school. They raised enough money through ticket sales, to purchase Christmas gifts for her, helping “her have a great holiday season”. Coincidentally, a few days before the actual event it was learned a family of one of their fellow student-athletes was experiencing financial insecurity. Some of the SALT members got together to brainstorm how they could help that family. Ultimately, they decided to collect donations at the door to the basketball game and received enough money to help the family pay some bills and purchase other items during December and January. SALT is delighted they were able to help members in their own local community.
3A Winner – Western Alamance High School
The Western Alamance High School Football Team sponsored the Honoring Those Who Served – Past and Present with two activities. The Veterans Night Of Honor project delivered more than 1,000 meals, 585 gift bags, and 585 yard signs to veterans in the Alamance County area. Local veterans and their families received a long overdue “thank you” because of the efforts of the team. The roads surrounding the school are covered with “Thank You Veterans” signs to remember and recognize our veterans. As one veteran said, “It is a great feeling to know that somebody, somewhere, cares”. When the crisis broke out in Ukraine, the team partnered with a local organization to collect donations for 100 care packages. Through generous donations, the Care Package Shipment project sent more than triple their initial goal (335) packages to deployed troops with handwritten words of encouragement. Extra supplies collected were donated to a local rescue mission that often serves veterans and to the pregnancy crisis center. In the words of the team, “The impact on the community from these projects is substantial, but so is the impact on this team of young men. They now have a clearer understanding of the sacrifices our troops make every day to keep the freedoms they enjoy secure”.
1A Winner – Gates County High School
The Gates County High School Soccer Team chose to work with local youth in their community. They planned soccer skills clinics that were free-of-charge to local youth. The team collaborated with the director of a local Community Center and worked together to organize supplies, locate a field, and develop an advertising plan. The clinics were well received, and the team had a “great time helping youth improve their soccer skills and learn to be active in fun ways”. This experience has helped the team bond with each other and improve their leadership skills. As a result of their initial success, they are planning to hold additional clinics. So far, 40 youth have been impacted by 10 soccer team members. The impact can be summed up by quoting one of the campers, “I wish soccer camp was every day!”
4A Winner – Northwest Guilford High School
The Northwest Guilford High School Vikings Cheer Program has participated in monthly community service events. The one especially meaningful to them is Reading with the Vikings. As a result of their Little Vikings Camps, they developed a project to impact literacy for elementary school children. During the camps the Little Vikings (campers) consistently asked a member of the cheer squad to read to them. So, they developed Reading with the Vikings. They collected children's books to donate to the Oak Ridge Park Library and to local elementary schools. Each of the 29 junior varsity and varsity cheerleaders read one of the books they collected on video to be uploaded to the YouTube channel created by the team. Over 1,500 children have viewed the videos with endless possibilities that the reading program can be exchanged and expanded. According to the team, “We hope that we reach a wide variety of groups within our projects. We not only consider ourselves athletes, but community members as well. We hope that our community knows how much we appreciate all their support and hope that we not only impact the organizations that we have worked with this year, but endless individuals throughout the state.”
1A Winner – Pender High School
The Pender High School Athletic Department participated in four community service projects. The highlight of their year was Read Across America Day when athletes from Pender High School traveled to feeder elementary schools and middle school. On that day 14 varsity athletes representing 10 athletic programs in the school went to 14 elementary and middle school classes, not only to read to them, but to speak about the importance of education-based athletics and how that has helped them be successful in the classroom. They shared personal stories about their time on the field, on the court, or on the track with about 180 students. Their goal is to provide positive role models the kids can relate to and emulate. They “look forward to seeing the fruits of projects like these as the younger students impacted make their way to Pender High School.”
3A Winner – Nash Central High School
The Nash Central High School Junior Varsity and Varsity Volleyball Teams have participated in an ongoing service project with a local organization, Sleep in Heavenly Peace of Rocky Mount. The goal of Sleep in Heavenly Peace is “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town!” The project was completed in four stages. First the team participated in “build day” where they helped build beds, using a drill and sander for the first time. These beds were delivered to children in the community. The next stage was to organize and hold a “bedding drive” at their school. They collected new twin-size bedding and pillows — 47 bed-in-a-bags, 5 sets of sheets, and 43 pillows. They also received monetary donations. The next stage was assisting the EC class make 7 handmade pillows. The fourth stage was actually experiencing the purpose of all their hard work by participating in “delivery day”. They loaded trucks with beds and bedding and set off to make their deliveries. The volleyball girls were able to build beds at six homes in the community where they witnessed first-hand the poverty that many families experience. The outcome of the deliveries was “joy for not only the children but the volleyball players as well”. By participating in this service project over 120 children in the community are now sleeping in beds rather than on the floor!
4A Winner – Marvin Ridge High School
The Marvin Ridge High School Varsity Softball Team has supported residents at the National Church Residence – Cotton Street Commons, which is a low-income senior residential community in Monroe, North Carolina. The players were involved in collecting needed items including grocery store gift cards, gas station gift cards, masks, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, word search books, bottled water, and lip balm. They packaged those items in bags labeled “Acts of Kindness” and hand delivered them to 20 residents at the National Church Residence – Cotton Street Commons. The student-athletes brightened the residents’ day and even received some handwritten thank you notes.
3A Winner – Franklin High School
The Franklin High School Athletic Program, in collaboration with the Special Education Department, participated in multiple projects throughout the year to increase school spirit and unify the school. They could be seen treating the custodians to a candlelight lunch, leaving teachers and fellow students encouraging notes, recognizing unspoken leaders on campus, and participating in the Unify March Madness game. Unify March Madness is a basketball showcase for persons with disabilities who have been helped to learn the game by student-athletes. The approximate 35 student-athletes realized success in sponsoring the unifying event, bringing together the special needs community and the student body.