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Christmas tree sales

Members+of+the+track+team+take+part+in+Christmas+tree+sales+to+raise+money+for+the+Athletic+Booster+Club+on+Dec.+11%2C+2017.+The+track+team+was+happy+to+take+part+in+the+sales%2C+hoping+to+contribute+toward+the+amount+of+money+needed+for+a+new+track.
Members of the track team take part in Christmas tree sales to raise money for the Athletic Booster Club on Dec. 11, 2017. The track team was happy to take part in the sales, hoping to contribute toward the amount of money needed for a new track.

Members of the track team take part in Christmas tree sales to raise money for the Athletic Booster Club on Dec. 11, 2017. The track team was happy to take part in the sales, hoping to contribute toward the amount of money needed for a new track.

Photo provided by: Olivia Miller

Photo provided by: Olivia Miller

Members of the track team take part in Christmas tree sales to raise money for the Athletic Booster Club on Dec. 11, 2017. The track team was happy to take part in the sales, hoping to contribute toward the amount of money needed for a new track.

Grace Hefner, Features Editor

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Beginning over Thanksgiving break, Lake Brantley’s Athletic Booster club sells Christmas trees in order to raise money to keep up with the maintenance of sporting facilities and to ensure that Patriots have the best of the best. Sports teams and their adult volunteers can be spotted raising money and spreading Christmas cheer on the side of Sand Lake Road until there are no trees left to sell.

Kicking this season off with 280 trees in the lot, each of the average sized trees ranging in price from 60 to 70 dollars, Christmas tree sales continue to be one of the booster club’s anchor fundraisers, making close to 10,000 dollars in profit each year. Though most years tree sales last the full length of the holiday season, this year’s fundraiser has already exceeded expectations, making Athletic Director Jerri Kelly wish they had gone for an even 300. Those who are in charge have been careful to make sure there will not be any left over. Ever since the crash of the economy in the past had left the tree lot still relatively full by the end of the holidays, Kelly said, the booster organization has been hesitant, or “tree shy,” when estimating the quantity of trees needed, even as they continue to sell out every year since then.

“Lately we’ve been selling out,” Kelly said. “Usually [if there are trees left over], we will call someone who we know might not be able to afford a tree, or we call a charity who might be looking to make a family’s Christmas nicer.”

Students and their fellow community members continue to purchase trees from the school in support of athletics, and athletes continue to sell with their team, but a lot of these people contributing are not quite sure what they are working toward specifically. Though each school may choose different ways to organize their athletic programs, Lake Brantley has one booster club for all sports teams, meaning that money raised is all put toward whatever the booster club members think needs improvement the most, rather than it all going to one sport. In fact, Christmas tree sales were started initially in the 90’s as a way to raise money for the school’s pool. Currently, Lake Brantley Athletics is looking to get a new scoreboard for the gym, as well as a new track and turf field eventually. The turf and track are best when they are replaced at the same time, but doing so at the best quality costs around 750 thousand dollars, making every fundraiser count. Students can see a visual representation of the progress of savings for the new track and turf on the thermometer-like poster on the side of the side of the stadium, which is updated periodically as money is raised.

“The Christmas tree sales generate money for the whole athletic department,” senior Jessica Harris said. “Recently the swim team has seen the impact from updated facilities such as the score boards.”

When volunteering at the tree sales, the  athletes are asked to sign up for short shifts, and to encourage their parents and coaches to lend a hand as well. Students lead people around the trees, help them to find the best tree for them, put trees up on their stakes, and at times work together to carry heavier trees to the trimming station. Adults are required for supervision, as well as to operate the trimming station. Lake Brantley staff member David Rollins is always around to keep watch and be the designated expert when it comes to inventory and negotiations.

“Christmas tree sales definitely benefit not only the school but the track team as well,” sophomore Emma Miller said. “The school is saving up for the new track and the profits from tree sales really help contribute.”

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