A very well-attended event took place recently to benefit the Williamsburg High School Athletic Department, in particular, the football and soccer programs.
The First Annual Williamsburg Wildcat Gala took place March 5 at the Receptions East Conference Center in Eastgate. This was the kickoff for what has been titled Operation Restoration.
More than 450 people attended the gala event. This number included mostly alumni and Williamsburg village residents and a very large percentage of them were former football players and cheerleaders and other athletes during their prep career at Williamsburg High School. Many former coaches were also in attendance.
"I'm happy about it. It was a great turnout for a small town like Williamsburg."
Former Wildcat football players spoke about what was and what could be again the success of the Williamsburg football program. The focus of the evening was renewing the pride of being involved in the 'Burg gridiron program and building enthusiasm for the high school soccer program.
The Gala Committee's monetary goal is to raise funds to enlarge the weight room, double the size of the locker room, brand new public restrooms, and a new concessions area.
There is also excitement concerning the reestablishment of the high school marching band.
The winners of the essay contest were announced. They were Williamsburg High School students Courtney Kidwell, a freshman, Wayne Allison, a freshman, Tanner Supe, a freshman, and Jon Freeman, a sophomore.
The evening raised 17-18 thousand dollars and an additional $37 thousand dollars has been raised through corporate sponsorships.
"It was a great evening for Williamsburg football. A tremendous turnout," said Ken Osborne, the long-time, very successful head football coach at Williamsburg. "The football program is in good hands. I was astonished to see such a large number of my former players. It is always good to see them."
Brandon Malott was the Ohio Division IV Defensive Player of the Year under Osborne and a collegiate All-American at Georgetown (Ky.) College. He said, "This was a great idea. I had no expectations, but I was really impressed with the turnout and the money raised. I'm really looking forward to seeing things get back to the good old days they were."
Trevor Foster and Scott Lefker both played on the 'Burg gridiron for Osborne. Today, they are the first co-head varsity football coaches in Clermont County history.
Said Foster," "It was an absolutely remarkable event. It was a testament that so many (approximately 60 or more) former football players came back."
"It was an awesome night. It put things in perspective," said Lefker. "I'm excited about the future of Williamsburg football."
Jim Vickers was a senior and all-star lineman on the first unbeaten Williamsburg team which was that of 1967-68. He went on to star on the University of Cincinnati football squad.
Today he is a member of a Batavia law firm.
He said, "It was a great night to honor coach Osborne and Williamsburg football. Coach was a positive influence and help to not only the football players, but the other students he came in contact with."
"It was just a great night. I enjoyed seeing old friends. It was a tremendous event that served a good purpose very well," said Jim Dyer, Williamsburg athletic director.
Supe was praised by Jeff Weir, Williamsburg Local School District Superintendent, as "the idea lady. She had a vision."
Ruth Schuler, long a strong Williamsburg Schools supporter and advocate and a former Wildcat cheerleader, said, "I can't imagine how thngs would be going without Mia's ideas and leadership."
The entire event was filmed by Chad Wainscott and Steve Hess of Artistic Vision Productions. The Williamsburg graduates announced they will have copies of the gala that can be purchased. Call (513) 225-7630.
If anyone is interested in making donations and/or helping Operation Restoration, please contact the high school (513) 724-2211.