Fan Club Not Dead; Volunteers Step Up

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

The Lady Longhorns’ next action will be in the 16-team Holiday Hoops Payson Invitational, which will be played Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 on the Payson hardwood. As always, FAN Club members urge the community to come out and enjoy the games while supporting the school and student-athletes.

Although Mark Twain uttered the famous quote, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” it could be attributed to any Payson Friends And Neighbors (FAN) Club member.

That’s because the club is not dead in the water, as has been rumored for the past several months.

The past buzz centered on the club folding mostly because the founding members, including President Tim Doherty, were about to step down.

But late last week, FAN Club member Eileen Daniels announced four parents had agreed to take over the leadership positions.

“The FAN Club’s final call for parent volunteers willing to serve as new board members has been answered,” Daniels said.

The new officers, who were sworn in at the December meeting, include president Donovan Thornhill, vice president Debbie Brown, secretary Shelley Randall and treasurer Wanda Randall.

The first order of business for the new board was to extend an open invitation to local parents, coaches and business persons to attend the next meeting to be held 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 at Pioneer Title, 421 S. Beeline Highway.

At that meeting, meeting dates for general membership will be decided upon.

Past board officers, prior to resigning, thanked “local business and fans for fantastically supporting out school’s extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.”

The FAN Club was founded in 2005 by a core group of supporters including Mikey Halenar, Farrell Hoosava, Kristi Ford and Doherty.

Since the inception of the club, it has raised over $250,000 to benefit extra-curricular programs throughout the school district.

The 2008 school year was a banner one for the club and the programs it supported.

By hosting 50/50 raffles at football games and a highly popular sideline couch seats drawing that allowed lucky winners to sit comfortably with up-close and personal looks at the games, the FAN Club made thousands of dollars. At the Blue Ridge vs. Payson clash, which drew a standing room only crowd, the club earned almost $2,000.

Later that fall, school board members voted to accept six sizable contributions from the FAN Club for the district. They included:

• $1,215.12 for cross country

• $1,201.70 for volleyball

• $1,300 for track

• $1,200 for baseball

• $3,814.03 for football and

• $306.16, also for football

The FAN Club also backed several other projects including the purchase of a new scoring table for Wilson Dome.

Among those to laud the club is PHS principal Roy Sandoval, “Fund-raising, facilitating fund-raising, organizing and many times financing team banquets, charter buses to state level games — the list (of FAN Club contributions) is endless,” he said.

PUSD Superintendent Casey O’Brien believes support of the FAN Club is essential to the success of extra-curricular activities because the M&O budget will likely be cut due to state budget restraints. Those cuts likely will mean an increase in student participation fees.

“Without the support of the FAN Club, those fees could certainly be impacted as we will have to absorb a greater share of the costs of equipment, uniforms and fees that the FAN Club has been there to support,” O’Brien said.

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