BV student helps spread Bobcat Pride

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Jacey Howerton holds one of the T-shirts she has gathered for her project 'Pass the Bobcat Pride.' (Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News)

There will be a lot more students wearing purple and gold at Berryville pep rallies and ballgames soon.

That was the goal of Berryville freshman Jacey Howerton when she began the "Pass the Bobcat Pride" project. Howerton has been working with the school district the past few months to set up baskets in each school office where staff and students can drop off gently used or new Bobcat shirts, or other spirit wear. She said she has collected the clothing donations and been preparing them to distribute to students in need of Bobcat wear.

"I realized that a lot of kids can't participate in the school spirit days because they don't have any Bobcat pride shirts, so I wanted to do something about it," Howerton said.

She said that Berryville's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter gave her the opportunity to organize "Pass the Bobcat Pride" as a STAR Event. Howerton said that STAR stands for Students Taking Action with Recognition, and the events focus on leadership skills and career preparation. She said she will present the chapter service project at the FCCLA District 1 STAR Events Competition on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Howerton said she is currently sorting shirts by size to get the amount of each size needed for the district's four campuses.

"One thing I was worried about is that we've gotten a lot of adult sizes but not a lot of youth sizes, which we need," she said. "The Kiwanis Club of Berryville has approached me to partner with the project by donating money or shirts, so that should help get more kids' sizes to distribute."

The Kiwanis Club is not the only organization Howerton is partnering with for the project. She said she is also working with Bright Futures, a program focused on using all of the resources in the community to benefit students, to ensure that the "Pass the Bobcat Pride" project continues after she graduates.

"We're putting it under Bright Futures to help with the longevity of the project," Howerton said. "Part of my project is about the follow-up and how I will keep the project going. We've talked about doing it every year until my senior year and then maybe passing it on to another freshman."

Mindy Hicks, the coordinator of Berryville Bright Futures and Howerton's mom, said that the project helps reach the goals of the Bright Futures program.

"It helps more students be a part of school spirit and shows that someone is looking out for them," Hicks said. "As we like to say in Bright Futures, they have someone being a champion for them."

Howerton said distribution of the shirts will likely begin in the next few days. She said she hopes to set up a booth at school events soon to distribute the adult sizes to those who need them.

"I'd like to be able to give the shirts to new students or students who need them so they feel like they're a part of the Bobcat Pride," she said.

Howerton said the ultimate goal of the project is to enable more students to participate in school spirit events.

"I would like to increase school spirit and boost student involvement in pep rallies and ball games," she said. "It would be amazing to have the whole student section be able to wear purple or a school shirt in general. If they can all feel involved, they will succeed, too."

Howerton said "Pass the Bobcat Pride" will continue throughout the school year. Shirts and other spirit wear can be dropped off at any of the school offices on the elementary, intermediate, middle and high school campuses.

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