While many high schools have booster clubs devoted to each individual sport, Manvel High School’s booster club philosophy is for one overarching club to support each of the school’s athletic programs.
The goal, Manvel Mavericks Booster Club president A.J. Johnson explained, is to maximize the collective passion of the parents to support each team and support group, such as cheerleading.
“We want to do whatever we can to enable the coaches and athletes perform to the best of their ability,” he said. “We want to let the kids focus on their academics and their extra-curriucular activities and let coaches focus on teaching and coaching. Whatever we can do to help them have what they need, that’s what we do.”
Whether it’s football, swimming or softball, Johnson said it’s important for the students, athletes, coaches and teachers to see the club working to serve each team and group rather than focus on one in particular. It’s about the parents living up to the school’s “Hoka Hey” motto. “Hoka Hey” was Crazy Horse’s battle cry at Little Big Horn. While the Mavericks don’t translate the motto literally – it means today’s a good day to die – they do focus on the idea of selflessness.
“I think I can speak for the entire board: Can you give up your selfish desires to help the entire program?" Johnson said. "You have to have true servant leadership and this is our way to demonstrate that. We are all up at the school quite a bit, and we all see what the needs are, so why not step up and get involved?”
Club members enjoy supporting their children and working together to support each other’s program. They recognize the greater good and are committed to working toward a fully supported Manvel athletic program.
“You have community supporters who are passionate about their particular sports and then there are some who just want to be involved with the athletic program,” Johnson said. “Booster club members and officers do a great job making sure each sport does a great job of reaching its audience.”
And each sport’s done what’s necessary to make sure the club’s budget is healthy enough to honor each request. Johnson’s been involved with the club in various roles for three years and said he’s never seen the club turn down a demonstrated need.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve never had to tell any sport or any coach ‘no’ if they need something,” he said.
Johnson said each sport has been very effective in creating fundraising opportunities specific to their needs. Supporters of the girls’ basketball program developed an opportunity to add advertising to the scorer’s table with a rotating billboard that faces the stands.
“That gives us an opportunity to solicit local businesses,” Johnson said. “That idea is new to us but it’s an opportunity to help that program.”
On the football side, the club’s partnered with a local restaurant to improve the fare at the stadium’s concession stands.
“Now we can offer more than just your regular hot dog,” he said. “We’ve got sausage on a stick, jambalaya and other things that have really been a boost and led to more revenue.”
Johnson’s efforts haven’t been lost on the staff.
“AJ has been instrumental in helping organize the way we do things here – we are thankful to have him,” said Mavericks football coach Kevin Hall.
The club has been hard at work raising money to support the football team as well. Johnson said after 12 years, the club will be buying a new inflatable run-through tunnel for the team.
“They’ve been using the same tunnel since the school opened,” Johnson said. “We’ve had parents and club members who work to set it up and take it down each week brought it to our attention last year that this one is on its last legs. I’m not sure we’ll be able to get the new one here during this season, but for sure we’ll have it for next season.”