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Posted: Wednesday, October 17th 2012 at 3:24pm

Sammy Cunningham Field House dedication set Thursday

By Rob Moore Editor
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The late Coach Sammy Cunningham, left, is shown on the sidelines with SHMS Coach David Nichols.
CORNELIA – The sidelines of the South Habersham Middle School football field are expected to be filled to capacity Thursday afternoon as the school's field house is dedicated to long-time coach Sammy Cunningham.

The dedication will begin at halftime of the last SHMS home game of the season, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, against North Habersham Middle School.

All past South Habersham players will be recognized on the field at halftime, and the community is invited to attend, said organizer Janet Roberts Kinsey. Due to limited seating, lawn chairs may be brought for sitting on the sidelines.

The eighth-grade Rebel football team goes into this game undefeated with one tie.

Both Rebel teams have worn a red No. 14 helmet decal this season in honor of Cunningham.

“Tarin Westbrook, Coach Sammy’s grandson, played his first year as a South Habersham Rebel in the absence of his papa,” Kinsey said. “Tarin was given the No. 14 jersey to wear and proudly carry on the family tradition.”

In August, the Habersham County Board of Education approved naming the field house at South Habersham for Cunningham, who gave 33 years of service to the school system.

At that meeting, Coach David Nichols told board members, “You can’t mention South Habersham without invoking the legacy of Coach Sammy Cunningham, and his life serves as the centerpiece of a tradition that unites us all. It brings the people of South all together in a shared belief that we are part of something special, something much larger than ourselves ….”

“If nothing else, Sammy’s example undeniably taught us two of life’s greatest truths,” Nichols said. “No. 1 is if you really want something, you must be willing to work extremely hard to get it. And No. 2, always have the courage to look others in the eye and tell them the truth, even if it’s not what they want to hear …. Hard work and courage is the legacy that he left us, and as the head football coach at South Habersham, I feel personally responsible for seeing that legacy continue.”

South Habersham Middle School is located at 237 Old Athens Highway, near the intersection of Level Grove Road, Cornelia.

Additional contributions to the Sammy Cunningham Memorial Fund may be mailed to Janet Roberts Kinsey, 501 Thornwood Circle, Mt. Airy, GA 30563.
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