For many years, fundraising for Fort Lee High School Sports teams in Fort Lee has consisted of selling candy (not the healthiest method), selling athletic gear, primarily t-shirts and sweatshirts; and having athletes sit with “tin cups” (figuratively) in front of Shoprite and the A& P, soliciting donations. Selling candy probably had a 25% return, clothing 10%, and tin-cupping 100%, but with limited donations. As a result, our sports programs have suffered, i.e. our high school athletes and ancillary programs (cheerleaders; band; etc.) have been deprived of the necessary equipment to enhance our programs. In past years, our teams have worn old, disgusting uniforms while visiting teams would arrive looking like winners (except for our color guard that had no uniforms at all – totally embarrassing ). We have lacked equipment for our weight rooms and sports equipment to train our teams professionally.
With the exception of selling clothing, which builds a sense of “high school spirit”, it is time to discard the other antiquated, ineffective fundraising methods and begin to work together as a community to insure that our high school athletic programs have only the best.
There is also the issue that, in the past, the various entities have failed to work together to raise money. The football team has separate fundraising from the soccer team, etc. The band and the color guard have to raise their own funds. There has never been a united effort to work together to benefit all the programs.
A new era has begun. In 2012, the seeds of an idea were germinated with the high school football program. A small sports ad journal was published in an effort to raise money for the team. In 2013, this idea was expanded into “The 1st Annual Bridgemen Athletics Ad Journal 2013”. As a result of the work of a group of dedicated individuals, this enterprise raised over $ 10,000 for our sports programs. This has resulted in new equipment, new technology, and new uniforms for our athletes.
With the help of several devoted individuals, this fundraising effort was a smashing success. Michael Raftery, FLHS Athletic Director, coordinated this project with all the high school coaches and the fundraising group. James Puliatte, Asst. Basketball Coach and head of “Fort Lee Fanatics”, designed the front and back covers for the journal as well as organizing all the team photos. Marianne Laurel, a 2008 alumni of Fort Lee High, dedicated mega-hours of her time into the ad designs and did an amazing job.
Key individuals donated their time to fundraising. Alan Keller, President of the Fort Lee Soccer League; Paul Leale, VP of the Fort Lee American Little League, and Billy Straub, FLHS Head Football Coach, worked hard to solicit local businesses and individuals to place ads in the journal. Three high school student athletes: Cody Pearl; Sam Keller; and Mohammed Abdelhamid; went store to store to solicit ads. Over fifty businesses, individuals, and organizations eventually placed advertisements in this journal as a result of these endeavors.
The first Sports Ad Journals were distributed at our opening season Fort Lee High School football game on Friday, September 13. These journals will continue to be distributed at all home games for our various sports programs, demonstrating community support for our student athletes.
Special thanks to all those generous individuals and organizations who contributed to this program: These patrons who support our student athletes need to be acknowledged:
New Jersey Bank Valley National Bank
Cafasso’s Fairway Market Mayor Mark Sokolich
Hook & Ladder Co. #3 Luppino Homes
Robert Dillon, Class of ’97 Chillers Grill
Raffi Khorozian, Esq. Parsekian & Solomon, Attys.
The Finest Construction Tutor Doctor
Patrizia & Giuseppe Pagano Luppino Developers LLC
P.B.A. # 245 Jan Goldberg, Councilman
Maggiano, DiGirolamo, & Lizzi, Attys-at-Law
Jamie M. Weiss Realty The Keller Family
The Pearl Family Starr, Darcy, & Starr, CPAs
The Elketchen Family Postcards R Us
Ila Kasovsky, Councilwoman Trattorio Pomodoro
Its Greek to Me Joseph A. Holzapfel, D.P.M.
Enzo’s Market Paul Leale, Met Life
The Fort Lee Cooperative & Condominium Association
Frank Aiello, Class of ’72 Sokolich Real Estate
Beverly Hecht, Remax Realtors Barry Wein
Modell’s Sporting Goods Frank Cleary, Remax Realtors
Gittleman, Muhlstock & Chewcaskie, Attys-at-Law
BrightStar Home Health Care Mikula Contracting
Envy Parking LLC Antranig Aslanian, Esq.
Uscher, Quiat, Uscher & Russo, Atty’s-at-Law
Educational & Behavioral Health Services Sports Time
Fort Lee Soccer League
Fort Lee Girls Basketball League
Fort Lee American Little League
Fort Lee National Little League
Fort Lee Jr. Boys Basketball League
Fort Lee Girls Softball League
Fort Lee Jr. Bridgemen Football League
Fort Lee Babe Ruth League
The Fort Lee Community should be very proud of this support for our student athletes.