Vance High girls basketball team
The Vance High girls basketball team after defeating Mallard Creek High in March.

Having their state-title game canceled by the pandemic was tough for the Vance High girls basketball team. Settling for the title of NC “co-champions” with rival SE Raleigh was bittersweet. But going without championship rings and jackets for lack of $3,000?

THAT must not happen to these great athletes, say the team’s supporters.

Vance High Athletic Director Carlos Richardson, Brent Jones with the UCITY Family Zone and StoneBridge Church Community, and other supporters of Vance High School are asking for our help in raising the last $3,000 needed to pay for championship rings, jackets and other victory mementos for 27 team players and coaches.

A year like no other

In other years, the athletes would have paid half of the $11,000 cost, Richardson says. The rest of the expense would have been covered by championship-game ticket proceeds, a fund-raising campaign and gifts from sponsors.

But this is 2020, the year of crazy, and the old ways don’t work. No championship game meant no ticket proceeds. Several team parents have lost jobs in the pandemic. Some business sponsors are hurting, too.

“The team did an online fund-raiser. Some of the girls paid, and we had a few sponsors donate. That totals up to about $8,000,” Richardson said.

One group that has helped is UCITY Family Zone, a team of leaders from local faith houses, businesses, non-profits and UNC Charlotte who collaborate on community transformation.

Jones, a member of this group, is also an avid Vance Cougars fan, Richardson says. “He told me that if we ever need anything to reach out to them, but he has reached out to us.”

Time is running short

More help is still needed to close the $3,000 gap, and the game clock keeps ticking.

The championship rings and jackets will be ready to pick up in the next week or two. Richardson figures he has until the end of August to raise that last $3,000.

That’s less than two weeks away, but Richardson has an optimist’s heart and a dreamer’s vision. He already has big plans for that day when the girls will come forward to receive their victory rings and jackets.

“We’re going to have a drive-through ceremony at the football stadium, where all the girls will come through,” he says. “They’ll sit in their cars. We’ll announce their name for them to come to the concession stand to get their ring.
“Then everyone else will blow their horns as the girls go back to their cars.”

In the year of crazy, those horns will sound so sweet.

How you can help

For details on making donations, contact Vance High School Athletic Director Carlos Richardson via email at Carlos.richardson@cms.k12.nc.us. Include your cell-phone number so that he can respond quickly.

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