Brewster Bears Celebrate Turf Transition

Like most high schools in Section 1 satisfied with their grass-to-turf upgrades, Brewster High School finally got the opportunity to hold its field dedication ceremony prior to the night’s Homecoming game this past Friday—securing two important victories for the Bears.

BHS athletic director Lance Pliego (far right) initiates the field dedication ceremony at Brewster High School last Friday. (From L to R): Dr. Stephen Jambor, John Frates, Courtney O’Malley and Dr. Jane Sandbank each addressed the crowd in honor of the school’s new turf field.

School officials and community leaders celebrated with fans, families and athletes in honor of one of the district’s newest additions, which was dubbed as the high school’s “seventh classroom.” Bears Field officially opened for business back in August, as fall sports like football, field hockey and soccer began to make use of the coveted multi-purpose athletic field.

Dr. Stephen Jambor, president of the Brewster Board of Education, commended the “Field of Dreams” committee as one of the project’s driving forces, fostering the school’s vision of a turf field into reality.

“They believed that this ‘classroom’ was important for the kids to have because it helps to teach the lessons of life,” Jambor said. “Fair play, effort, self-discipline, respect and teamwork are on the lesson plans that are taught right here.”

Through extensive fundraising, a generous grant by the Starr Foundation, and community involvement via the passage of a bond by Brewster and Southeast taxpayers in 2009, the high school obtained the necessary funds to construct a 1,400-spectator facility.

“It exists now as a living proof of the old saying which reminds us how you should never underestimate the effect of a truly dedicated group of people,” Jambor said.

The Brewster Sports Foundation, which influenced fundraising efforts within the community, played a major role in establishing the turf as a realized effort. President John Frates referred to the field as a “fortune” that “is a direct result of an idea.”

“The idea to advocate for infrastructure,” he said, “that would allow one of the necessary pillars of education—athletics.”

Once one of only a handful of schools without a turf field, the community of Brewster began lobbying for an updated athletic facility back in late 2006. The field complements improvements that are being made to Henry H. Wells Middle School, giving a fresh look to the conglomerate of Brewster schools located on Route 312 and Foggintown Road.

Starr Foundation vice president Courtney O’Malley, who spoke of the foundation’s founder Cornelius Vander Starr as a full-time philanthropist and lifelong athlete, commended the community of Brewster for its persistence in getting Bears Field underway for its current and future students.

“This is the first time I’ve laid eyes on this field and I think it’s far exceeded our expectations, and our expectations were pretty high,” O’Malley said.

Brewster High School’s football team capped off the night’s celebration with a Homecoming victory over Hendrick Hudson High School. The Bears defeated the Sailors 36—0, a shutout attributed to the night’s atmosphere and the unbreakable spirit of the fans.

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