Bill Stewart, Jefferson High School’s current athletic director, was on a mission.
While doing some research on high school softball fields in the county, he came across some interesting facts, the most important of which was there were two volunteers who gave much of their time and effort to helping make the Cougars’ softball program successful, yet they never received proper recognition for their efforts.
So Stewart gathered all of his data and turned them into a formal presentation before the Jefferson County Board of Education at its Tuesday, July 13 meeting in Charles Town.
Stewart’s mission was a success.
With no discussion or debate, and members of the Vickers’ family in attendance, the school board unanimously approved the request to make the JHS softball field the Lawrence and Debbie Vickers III Softball Field.
“Lawrence and Debbie Vickers basically built the softball field, maintained the softball field, and also had participated in work with the concession area,” Stewart said during his presentation. His research also revealed a letter, dated back to 2013, had previously requested the field be officially named after the Vickers.
For whatever the reason, the letter, mailed to a former school board superintendent, never made it to the official agenda of a school board meeting.
“When I brought this back up, the letter was very interesting to find,” Stewart told the current school board.
As Stewart probed further into this issue, he discovered there were letters of support from former JHS athletic directors John Brown and Jay Kirby, as well as from Jefferson baseball coach John Lowery.
Stewart also said during his interviews with some people regarding JHS softball history, not a single one of them failed to mention the Vickers. “We also received faculty senate approval,” he said. “It’s always very, very exciting for an athletic administrator to honor volunteers, and one of the highest honors you can bestow on a volunteer is naming something after them.
Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson, Jefferson County School Superintendent, was moved by Stewart’s presentation, as well as the presence of the Vickers’ family at the meeting.
“Thank you for doing so much for our kids, it’s seen and appreciated,” she told family members.
Truly, this was an honor long overdue the Vickers’ family.
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Ricky Robinson, a graduate student defensive lineman for the Rams, was named to the 2021
CoSIDA Academic All-American football team. It’s the second time in his college football career Robinson has been a first-team pick, as well as becoming the first Shepherd student-athlete to become a two-time, first-team Academic All-American.
Robinson won his previous honor in 2019, when he was third on the team in total tackles (48, with 26 solo tackles). Robinson also has two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
Owen Elliott, also a graduate student, and a member of the Rams’ golf team, was named to the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District At-large Team. Elliott has earned four medalists titles over his golfing career.
Elliott was a first-team PSAC pick this year, his third first-team all-conference team appearance in his career.
Shepherd’s men’s soccer team is set to return to a normal schedule this fall. The Rams have an 18-match schedule, which includes 12 conference match-ups.
Shepherd opens its 2021 season at home on Sept. 1 with a 1 p.m. matchup against Goldey-Beacom.