Meridian football seniors seek change with “All Eyes on Us” campaign
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The “All Eyes on Us” campaign is the product of a Meridian journalism class project. The class was tasked with, “finding something in the school or community that needs a positive boost, then create and launch a campaign to change public opinion,” says journalism teacher Sheila Moore.
The journalism group of Connor Hurelbrink, Cameron Getz, Drew Snow and Spencer Maxwell, decided it was the football program that needed a positive boost in the community. Their plan ultimately consists of three components:
1. Launch their “All Eyes on Us” campaign. This is a new motto for the team, due to the large number of returning seniors. These seniors feel the pressure to make 2017 a season of change. The campaign begins with a billboard, photographed and designed by Chad Mitchell Photography, placed on Route 51 across from Rotary Park. The billboard will run mid-April to mid-May, then again mid-August to mid-September.
Laura Maxwell is excited to see the new billboard and to see the Meridian Football team succeed. Maxwell, parent of a football player says, “I think it will help get more of the community involved and hopefully more people will come to the games and show their support.” Maxwell states the billboard would help the football team’s self-confidence and help them get excited about upcoming games. She says if the football team starts getting positive feedback and more people attended, it would help them “tremendously.”
Stone Carroll, sophomore supporter says, “When people see the billboard they will want to go to the games.” Carroll says the team will become “hyped” and hopefully win more games when more people show their support.
2. Create reversible backpacks and dry-fit hoodies with the logo, as to allow the community to support the initiative. Both these items can be purchased in Mrs. Moore’s room (backpacks are $5 and available for pick-up, hoodies are $40 (AllEyesonUs-OrderForm below this article), both items were designed by the young men heading up the project.
Football coach Scott Davis states, “Next year’s senior class in football is trying to change the culture of the Meridian Football program. It will be interesting to see through their combined efforts what can be accomplished when 12 players bond together working toward a common goal and can they get their fellow teammates to commit to taking on a great challenge. They know that they will be judged on their work ethic, effort, discipline, pride and toughness. They have set a very high but attainable goal. How much can these players get done in the next 6 months? We will soon find out !!”
3. Create a student section for next year.
After meeting with just two out of the four classes for next year, the student section is already up to 67 students.
Nate Durbin, class of 2018 football player stated, “It’s cool to see the amount of people that want to see us succeed.” Durbin thinks it will make people want to see if they can live up to the hype. “It will have the most impact on both students and community members, people might want to stop by on a Friday night to see us play and then it’s up to the players to meet these expectations.”
Meridian Football has not had a winning record since 2008. The 2017 team hopes to create change.
“I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the long practices and the hard work that our football players put in,” says Maxwell.
These players, most who’ve been together since JFL, have a unique bond.
“Since JFL most of us football parents could only dream of perfect seasons and for the crowds and respect from our community for our football players. We soon found out freshman year, it was going to be a long road. These guys have played through broken bones, strains and pains without stopping. They love the game and are determined to fight to the very last seconds. Without support from our community our sports programs will die off. Our children deserve the community’s participation and support no matter what they accomplish,” says football mom Erin Ireland. Her son, Ziak, is pictured on the new billboard.
Ireland expresses her sentiment by stating, “I’m so very proud of all of our athletes at Meridian. Our football is still very much alive at Meridian and I think that this year’s seniors want this not only for themselves but for our school.”