Posted: Friday, August 10th 2012 at 12:17am
Habersham BOE to discuss naming athletic facilities for individuals
By Rob Moore Editor
CLARKESVILLE – The Habersham County Board of Education will decide Monday whether to name school athletic facilities for individuals.
At Thursday’s called meeting, board members held an informal discussion of the issue.
“It was suggested by some of the board members that we may want to discuss naming athletic fields, stadiums, field houses after different people,” said Superintendent Matthew Cooper.
Board Member Robert Barron said he was approached by Janet Kinsey, contacting him on behalf of the South Habersham Middle School Booster Club, about the possibility of naming the field house at that school for the late Coach Sammy Cunningham.
Other names also were mentioned for remembrances.
“Right now the group that is wanting something to be determined is South Habersham Booster Club to name the field house after Sammy Cunningham,” Barron said.
“I’m probably not the best person to comment on it,” said Chairman Trent DeMore. “I went to South Habersham, played for Coach Cunningham, and everything you’ve said was dead on – he touched an awful lot of folks, and I’ve got my biased opinion on it for what I know he did for me and for what he did for this county.”
DeMore suggested board members give the matter more thought before taking action.
“We’ve got our board meeting Monday,” DeMore said. “Why don’t we table it now and think about it?”
DeMore encouraged board members to talk to people in the community over the weekend.
“To be honest with you, some folks I think we need to speak with is Sammy’s family,” DeMore said. “Half of me tells me that Coach Cunningham would say, ‘I really don’t want that,’ but I don’t know. I want to talk to them.”
Board Member Rick Williams shared words of caution.
“I think we’re going to have to be careful what we do for the simple reason right now nothing has ever been named after anybody, except for football – sports,” Williams said. “We’re going to have to be careful with whatever we do.”
Board Member Gilbert Barrett agreed.
“I think that’s a great point,” Barrett said. “I think the world of Sammy Cunningham. He impacted my life tremendously. I knew him since I was knee-high. Just a couple of things to think about between now and Monday: I think Rick makes a valid point in that if you start to set precedents then who is to say that 10 years down the road or backing up 30 years or 50 years who made a great contribution at Cornelia High School? There are so many folks that have made so many contributions, and I certainly don’t want to take anything away from Sammy Cunningham. I think he’s well deserving of that.”
Barrett said the board, four to six years ago, made the decision not to name facilities for individuals.
Williams agreed that Cunningham left a legacy in Habersham County.
“He had probably one of the biggest impacts as a community person of anybody that I know of,” Williams said. “Sammy is a product [of Habersham County]. And things like that make a difference.”
“Over the weekend, as individual board members, let’s decide if this is a path the Habersham County School System needs to go down,” DeMore said. “Take Coach Cunningham away from the equation. Is this a precedent we want to set … when we know that Habersham County has done something like this in the past?”
The board will discuss the matter more at its meeting Monday.
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