Sports Banquet Policy Change Causes Mixed Reactions

Equity and unity at the core of the sports banquet policy change

SHS+boy%27s+basketball+hosts+their+banquet+at+Atlantica+Restaurant+in+Cohasset.
SHS boy's basketball hosts their banquet at Atlantica Restaurant in Cohasset.

SHS boy's basketball hosts their banquet at Atlantica Restaurant in Cohasset.

SHS boy's basketball hosts their banquet at Atlantica Restaurant in Cohasset.

Katherine English and Brigid Murray

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At the close of each sports season, SHS athletic teams traditionally host a sports banquet. Typically held at local restaurants, awards banquets are especially important to senior athletes, who enjoy gifts and speeches about previous seasons together. Funding for sports banquets can come from a variety of sources; however, student athletes and their families are responsible for paying for this event. Due to concerns about the cost of attending sports banquets, a new Scituate Public Schools policy requires all SHS teams to hold their sports banquets on school grounds.

William Luette, Athletic Director at Scituate High School, said he proposed the idea of holding banquets on school grounds last year. The Scituate School Committee approved the policy, so now every team will be moving forward with this policy.

According to Luette, the new banquet policy is needed to avoid some of the complications that arise from holding banquets off campus. In the past, athletic coaches expressed concern about money being raised for the purpose of holding sports banquets. Some coaches thought this money should go back into the program. Luette said he was also approached by “some parents who were concerned about paying and going to banquets,” acknowledging that some families have personal or financial hardships that impact their ability to attend SHS banquets held off campus.

As the athletic director, Luette said he is also looking at the equity of the sports programs: Some teams are bigger than others, so they have more money to host banquets at fancier locations. With the new banquet policy, the only cost for every team will be food. As long as the banquet is held on school grounds, every other aspect of the banquet is flexible. Luette reflected on the volleyball team’s banquet success–it was held in the SHS cafeteria, but the food was catered by Chipotle. He feels this policy could be the start of something new and hopes the policy grows to promote unified celebrations.

Many people were unaware of this new banquet policy; however, according to Luette, it was addressed in the coaches handbook, and during the Meet the Coaches Night that was held in the final days of August. Luette said he also emailed athletic coaches after the policy was approved by the Scituate  School Committee.

Colleen Bonner, SHS parent and head booster for the SHS field hockey team, said she is indifferent to the new policy. Feeling for a long time that team banquets should be more uniform for all SHS sports, Bonner thought there should be one ceremony for each season for all the sports in that season. This style of banquet would give everyone a bigger audience and wouldn’t hurt individual team booster funds. Bonner believes in a few awards for the whole ceremony, saying the awards should be uniform: Anchor Award, Coach’s Award, MVP, etc. Bonner said she had the idea of a unified banquet prior to the announcement of the new rule.

According to Robyn Sullivan, president of both the Gridiron and the Boys Basketball Boosters, they will “work together with the school to put on a first-class evening for the players, coaches and families, which is what they deserve after putting so much time, energy and effort into their respective seasons.” Boosters will have to alter their banquet plans to accommodate the new policy, which will be a change for athletes, coaches, boosters, and parents.

For seniors, changing the policy means sports banquets won’t be as special or memorable. Field hockey senior captain Caroline Quinn shared her own thoughts, saying that it is “unfair.” Quinn said, “Each team really looks forward to this celebration,” adding, “the fun of it is raising the money to go a nice restaurant like Atlantica or Hatherly Country Club.” Senior football captain Peyton Crosby weighed in his opinion, saying he is not a fan of the policy. He hopes it doesn’t last too long, saying, “To put it plainly, it’s lame.” According to Crosby, the football team is not happy about the change, considering the normal location of the celebration is at Hatherly Country Club. Crosby said the team puts forth the money to have their banquets at “different places that are more fancy and not as plain and basic as the school.”

Changing the banquet policy may have caused mixed feelings among SHS athletes; however, Luette emphasized that he felt the change was necessary–not only for the students, but for parents and coaches as well.  

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