Chatham Charter opts for a video series in place of its standard athletic banquets

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 6/12/20

In the spring, this much was clear: some way or another, Chatham Charter was going to honor its athletes. The only question was how.

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Chatham Charter opts for a video series in place of its standard athletic banquets

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Posted

SILER CITY — In the spring, this much was clear: some way or another, Chatham Charter was going to honor its athletes. The only question was how.

Take a look at the school’s Facebook or Instagram page, and you’ll see the end result.

In a project spearheaded by Beth McCullough, the school’s executive director of secondary programs and communications, and Clint Fields, its athletic director, Chatham Charter is gradually rolling out a video series to honor all of its middle school and high school teams from the 2019-20 school year.

“It gives our coaches a chance to say what they would have said during that recognition ceremony,” McCullough said.

The series kicked off on June 1 with an introductory video from Fields, who detailed the most successful year in Knights athletics history, including a record number of teams in the playoffs, 14 all-conference athletes, a state runner-up in wrestling (Chandler Steele) and stellar men’s and women’s basketball seasons.

Since then, Chatham Charter has posted a video a day on its social media channels. In each video, roughly a minute long, coaches give a brief recap of their season before announcing any applicable honors, such as the team MVP.

McCullough, who managed a school-wide Google folder to gather submissions, said there were plenty of positives to the idea, which replaced the school’s traditional end-of-year middle and high school athletic banquets (canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic).

Chatham Charter, she said, values public speaking and implements it into middle and high school curriculums, so the videos are both an opportunity for coaches to improve that skill and for students to “see adults modeling that behavior.”

“It also gives us a broader audience,” McCullough said. “Typically, if someone was not there, they’d miss out on what the coach said. This way, if you’ve got a grandparent in another state, or a family member or friend or anyone else who wants to celebrate with you, they can.”

Within the stand-ups, there’s room for creativity. Some coaches, such as varsity volleyball coach Holley Hall and JV boys basketball coach Jeff Patterson, booked appointments to meet McCullough and have her film them inside the school gym.

Others filmed their videos on or near their playing fields, with middle school cross country coach Kim Burke speaking from a running trail and varsity soccer coach Scott Kidd speaking with the school’s soccer field behind him.

And when schedules permitted, some coaches presented MVP trophies on screen to their players. That was the case with varsity women’s tennis coach Kelly Eldridge and senior Rachel Brookshire, whom Eldridge called “a powerhouse” for the team.

Fall and winter sports will run through this week, with the varsity men’s and women’s basketball videos set for June 10. The men’s team went 32-2 and advanced to the NCHSAA 1A state semifinals; the women’s team went 27-4 and advanced to the 1A round of 16. (Both teams also went undefeated in regular-season conference play.)

Spring sports, which were cut significantly short due to COVID-19, are tentatively scheduled to run through June 17. Full rosters will be posted and honored, and coaches have the option to record videos, too.

Fields, the athletic director, will wrap up the project June 18 and announce Chatham Charter’s male and female athletes of the year.

McCullough has been monitoring the engagement, through views, shares and comments, on each post and has been impressed so far.

“We’ve had a lot of watches — between 150 and 200 — which tells me people are coming back for it,” she said. “Which is great.”

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

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