The 50-yard-line is generally revered as the best seats in the house for a football game, but for some lucky students at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, the VIP seats weren’t in the stands. No cold, aluminum bleachers or squinting to watch the action.
Just ask Brandon Wexler, 16, winner of the first-quarter VIP seating for JFK’s homecoming game against Jericho High School Friday night. Wexler, along with three of his friends, enjoyed a sideline view near the 25-yard line during the game.
Nestled comfortably on a weathered salmon-colored couch, the kids kicked back and munched on burgers and hot dogs as they watched their hometown Cougars lead the Jayhawks 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The sideline couch, on loan from the drama department, was a synergistic effort by several clubs in the school.
“I did it in a previous school district,” explained JFK assistant principal Gerard Owenburg, who was contacted by students before the school year started about fundraising ideas. “It was really popular amongst the kids [in other districts], it got them excited about the week.”
From the idea grew an opportunity to sell raffle tickets for the coveted couch seating – an initiative put into action by the student government to raise funds for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico – and grew into a joint venture with the school’s culinary program.
Students in the culinary program provided the winners with waiter and waitress service during each quarter, explained Owenburg.
By the fourth quarter the Cougars were on the way to a 35-6 win, and students were still as close to the action as they could get.
With changing winners each quarter, several students had the opportunity to experience the excitement firsthand.
“I am so proud of them this year because I actually heard from the kids before school even started when that first hurricane hit [Hurricane Harvey in Texas] I got a visit in August from a couple of student government officers... When the kids came in for the first day of school they had their first fundraiser going on day one.”