HAMMOND | Thirty years ago, Lora Earl walked the halls of Gavit High School as a member of the pom pom squad. Today, her daughters Amber and Lily are students and athletes at the same school.
It is because of their involvement in athletics that Earl felt an obligation to help bring the school’s booster club back to life.
Her husband, John, first recognized the need for a new booster club when he took Amber to volleyball practice two years ago and saw the team’s equipment being carried in garbage bags. He donated an equipment bag to the team told his wife about the incident.
It was then that Lora Earl decided she wanted better for their girls.
Both she and John had many fond memories of the booster club when they were at Gavit. Earl was disappointed to find out that there was no longer an active club at the school.
She tapped into some resources and, with the help of other parents and alumni, the plan to rebuild the Gavit Booster Club took effect. The club received a grant of $10,000 from the City of Hammond, which helped get it up and running.
While the club has its own goals to support Gladiator athletics, Earl’s personal goal for the club is to provide each team with new equipment before 2018.
This goal does not seem too unreasonable; the club has been able to secure new uniforms for the football and wrestling teams and is working to get new equipment for the baseball and softball teams.
Since its rebirth in 2011, the club has grown to 20 members and has hosted successful fundraisers, including an annual Homecoming tailgate party and Parents Night Out event.
Members of the club, including Earl’s husband, help clean up the playing fields and volunteer to sell tickets and concessions at home games.
Though there are no official officers for the club, Earl has taken on the responsibility as liaison between the club and school administration. She researches fundraising ideas and is currently helping plan the school’s sports banquet.
Earl said the club is working to raise enough money to provide the wrestling team with new mats. “It’s a shame. The team is using the same mats they were using when I was in school,” she said.
The club worked with the team to raise enough funds to purchase one mat for $9,000. “We would really like to get another mat. The team deserves it. They work hard. They desperately need another one,” Earl said.
The club is always looking for new members and membership forms are sent home with Gavit athletes at the beginning of each season. Earl said the work to promote the club and fundraisers is not easy, but the results are worth the struggle.