The Boys High Alumni of Track and Field, Inc. will be hosting its 9th Annual Fund- raising Banquet on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2003 at 6:00 P.M. The event will be held at Boys & Girls High School, 1700 Fulton Street. This occasion honors the “Legends of the High” in athletics and also serves as a means of raising funds for Boys & Girls High School’s Track and Field program.
“The basic concept of the Boys High Alumni was to support the track team because of the austerity in regard to the budget of athletics in New York City,” said James N. Jackson, B &G track coach and president of the Boys High Alumni of Track and Field. “At one time, our program didn’t have any funding. Because when they cut the budget for education, the first budget they cut are sports budgets. More or less, every team in the school has to do their own fund- raising to support their teams.”
This year’s honorees will be Sharon Moore, ’90 All-City Track; Ralph Bass, ’57 All-City Track; Wally Briggs, ’60 All-City Basketball and Teddy Weston, ’65 All-City Football. The association also honors (posthumously) George Shaw, ’49 All-City Track and a member of the 1952 United States Olympic Team.
The guest speakers will be three members of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team: Bob Beamon, John Carlos and Larry James. Beamon won the Gold Medal for the long jump and set a world record in the event that would last for 23 years. Carlos won the Bronze Medal in the 200 meter dash, but is probably more famous for the “Black Power” salute he and his teammate Tommie Smith gave during the celebratory playing of the National Anthem. This protest against racism and economic depression still lives on as one of the most memorable scenes in sports history.
James is a Gold Medal member of the 1600m Relay Team and a Silver Medalist in the 400m Dash. The occasion should be an illustrious event, filled with nostalgia and jubilance. By honoring the past, the Alumni are also helping to build a strong future and preserve tradition.
The B&G track team doesn’t squander the funds that they receive. They have shown their gratitude by performing at a high level on and off the field.
The Girls team has been very successful recently, winning two PSAL Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the past two years. In 2000 and 2001, the B&G Girls team claimed titles at the Penn Relays, one of the most prestigious track & field titles in America. They also hold the national record for the 4x 800m Distance Medley Relay for indoor and outdoor competition.
Boys and Girls might not be able to compete in such prestigious events were it not for the Alumni. The team competes in over 40 meets per year and each meet that the squad travels to has an entry fee of between $300 and $400.
The squad must also worry about the costs of uniforms and equipment. The squad is essentially run as one big program since Jackson (Class of 1967) coaches the boys and girls teams. But that means the costs are doubled. The monetary issues that the team faces has made the Alumni’s support extremely important.
The Boys High Alumni of Track and Field was founded in 1968 by track coach Doug Terry and was originally named The Kangaroo Track Club, a name derived from the school mascot. Although a graduate of Brooklyn Tech H.S. (Class of 1954), Terry had a passion for Boys High Track and Field. “I lived right around the corner from Boys High,” said Terry. “I wanted to go to Boys High, but my mom made me go to Tech. Subliminally, that might have been why I formed the association.”
Terry coached the Boys High track team from 1964-1974, before moving on to Brown University and being replaced by Jackson. In 1980, The Kangaroo Track Club took on its current moniker.
The mission of the association: “To encourage and promote accountability, sense of purpose, strong moral character and excellence in academics and athletics.” The association carries out its mission by getting current students to come to the banquets and learn about the tradition of the school. The Alumni has also enacted its creed by posting constant reminders of the past throughout the school.
Fund-raising efforts continue to be a success. Every year the track teams compete in a hefty number of events and travel all over the country. Providing financial support for the program is a major accomplishment, considering that the only fund-raisers are the banquet and annual April track meet known as The Kings Game, hosted by the school in Van Cortlandt Park.
“What I’m proud of more than anything else is that we are bringing together those alumni as far back as 1930 and we’re bringing them back into the fold to see what we are doing now,” said Terry. “The other thing is that because this is a predominantly black association, we’re getting athletes that competed against us. I don’t think there is any other track and field alumni association like this one. So they feel like a part of this. They come to our affairs and support us. We have crossed over intramural barriers.”
In an era where the youth are sometimes unaware of their history, the most important part of the Alumni’s mission might be their goal to bridge the gap between generations.
“We’re trying to re-create the past and let our respective students and athletes know that their legacy is greater than what they are doing,” said Jackson. “They had a legacy way before this school was built. We want to bridge that gap between them and the past.”