Ask Garland Owl Football Booster Club president Maile Casarez what drives members to work to support the program and you’ll get an answer that makes a lot of sense.
“You know, all of these parents love their children,” Casarez said. “We are a group that has parents of all classes who take their time to come together and come up with ideas, designs and to be at every game we play.”
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the reason actually doesn’t apply to a number of members, Casarez included. A healthy number of the club’s membership doesn’t have a son in the program in 2019.
“We have a board member and a number of other club members who do this because they love Garland High School and they love to be a part of this organization,” she said.
Casarez herself falls into that category. Her two sons both played football and have since graduated, but she remains connected to the program through her daughter, who serves the team as a student-trainer.
“It’s not because we have kids that are actually on the team,” she reiterated. “We do this because we love the organization so much.”
Casarez and her fellow boosters spend the year working tirelessly to raise money for the program during the season and to celebrate it once the games have wrapped up. For the last few years, the booster club has hosted an awards banquet to show the football coaches and players how much their efforts are appreciated.
“We want to do something big to show them what their time and effort means to us,” Casarez said. “It’s a huge thing, but we are committed to acknowledging everyone for their hard work.”
Last year’s banquet took place at The Atrium, a fine arts venue in the community. Casarez said last year’s banquet sets the stage for this year. The club hasn’t finalized a venue, but she said the celebration “will be just as big.”
Pulling off a celebration that includes as many as 300 guests takes work, but it’s work that the club members pull together to complete. Each gives what they can – from leadership skills to suggestions to set-up to selling tickets and sponsorships, both for the banquet and for the program in general.
“As a booster club team, we all work religiously to make sure the players, trainers and coaches have everything they need,” Casarez said. “We have different fundraisers throughout the year so we can pay for things like jerseys, locker tags, pads for the pants, things like that. We want to make sure we take care of these kids in lots of different ways.”
As the original high school in the Garland ISD, community pride for the Owls runs deep. The pride extends beyond pep rallies and game nights. Casarez said the alumni support remains strong as well. She hears from Garland alumni who ask how they can donate goods to the program, and she hears from former players who not only offer to support the banquet financially, but to speak and share with the current team how much pride they still take in seeing the Owls hunt for wins.
That support, from both the community and the booster club, keeps Casarez and her fellow boosters working each week.
“Being a part of this organization and being able to really see so many people helping and lending their time to take care of these kids, it’s a blessing,” Casarez said. “It's just a blessing to be able to be a part of it.”