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Old trophies find a new home

What began as a simple gesture of goodwill, through Facebook, exploded into a viral mechanism of community empowerment.  Soon after a former King George High School student posted the statement “You must be from King George/Dahlgren if (fill in the blank)” Facebook entries grew from former students remembering teachers to posting old photos of the old KGHS, currently called old King George Elementary

School.

To determine the current condition of the old school a tour was formed to revisit the facility. During the tour of the cafeteria and library, the group discovered hundreds of trophies sitting on the floor, behind the old stage. The trophies, which went back as far as the early 1950’s, were placed there during the construction of the high school, currently King George Middle School. News of the discovery upset a number of KGHS graduates. A group of concerned citizens, led by King George Sports Hall of Fame (KGSHOF) president Gary Butler, created a committee to raise funds, and build trophy cases. “I said if you feel this passionately about it, let’s raise funds for new trophy case. People soon began talking about it, and the project went viral,” Butler said.

The love of KGHS and the memories associated with its sports accomplishments and memorabilia struck a deep note within the KGHS alumni. The financial response from the Fox alumni was overwhelming. The class of 1971 alone donated enough funds to buy one trophy case. Two cases were sponsored by Rick Hayden and Family KGHS Class of ‘79. Combined with individual donations, Eastside Glass Shop, the KGSHOF, and the KGHS athletic department, the trophy cases were completely paid for. “I was pleased that different KGHS classes began challenging each other to see who could raise the most money; their actions laid down the gauntlet, which led to the purchase of the trophy cases.”

Visionquest Builders, the architectural mill manufacturer which produced the cases, is owned by former KGHS graduate Conrad Snow. Snow’s sister, Laura Yarus, is the owner of Eastside Glass Shop. Due to his fondness for his high school alma mater, Snow built the cases for the cost of materials only. The retail cost for the cases is $1,500; Visionquest built the cases for $725 dollars each.

Last Wednesday, Snow drove from his Alexandria business location to deliver and install six cases inside the current KGHS cafeteria. With the help of Butler, KGHS athletic director Alex Fisher, and members of the KGHS varsity football team, the cases were safely installed. Reflecting on the success of the project, Snow said, “We had a great class, and wonderful people. This is a great school, and the older you get, you find yourself walking down memory lane. It’s nice to give something back.”
The cases are made of mahogany wood, with an interior lined with black felt backers. For 25 years, Visionquest has a proud reputation for constructing cabinet fixtures for government and military buildings in the Northern Virginia area. The company has also built fixtures inside the King George Courthouse, and other commercial sites in King George.

Now that the trophies are in place, visitors, and students can marvel at nearly 60 years of athletic success. From field hockey to track & field, the entire spectrum of KGHS sports is equally represented in the new cases. The recovery effort is another example of community volunteerism. “There will be a lot of happy people, when they see the trophies that were earned through sweat equity, and passion,” Butler said.

Leonard Banks

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