Alumni Night Tuesday, Jan. 30
BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – “We are the greatest school in the universe,” said Lakewood High School Community Liaison and class of 1983 graduate Ann Sherman-White.
She is working to “rejuvenate that old Lakewood spirit” and has planned a number of evening activities to lure the alumni as well as friends from the community back to Lakewood.
Alumni Night held Jan. 30 saw a sold-out crowd attend the basketball game between the Lakewood Spartans and the Boca Ciega Pirates. This old but friendly rivalry between the two schools saw Lakewood get trounced, but that didn’t seem to matter.
“It was to capacity and it reminded you of the basketball games from the 80s and early 90s where families and friends would come out,” said Sherman-White. “A lot of hugging, a lot of ‘I haven’t seen you in a long time,’ it was like a mini-reunion.”
Alumni from the 70s, 80s, 90s and the aughts were all sitting underneath the large Spartan head taking photos and hugging it out.
“It’s just a family atmosphere here,” said Lisa Rowe Delancy, who graduated in 1992 and shared the court with current girl’s head basketball coach Nicole Tonsil. Her brother also attended Lakewood, her son is now a Spartan and she expects her other children to follow suit.
Class of 1983 | Front: Ann Sherman-White | Middle: Joy Porter-Wright, left, and Erin Savage | Back: Jody Richards, left, and Laura Schubert
“It was a great chance just to show that you can bring groups of young people together, have a good time, rival back and forth and everyone goes home safely without incident,” said Sherman-White.
Class of 2000 alum Earnest Crumbley, Jr. was there in the stands cheering on his alma mater. He played basketball for four years, going to the final four for two of those years. He went on to attend Florida Atlantic University and professionally spent some time playing internationally in Mexico.
“Our goal here at Lakewood is to win championships,” said Crumbley, repeating the school’s mantra.
Yaphett King was also on hand to show his school spirit. A 2001 graduate, King joined the basketball team his junior year. After attending Cal State Fullerton, he went on to play professionally in Vienna, Austria. He said his aspirations to be a champion started right on the Lakewood team.
“They made me feel at home, and it is home for me,” stated King.
Aside from rejuvenating the old school spirit, Sherman-White is organizing these activities to demonstrate that folks of all ages from the community can come and have safe, family fun and to encourage the community to embrace and “wrap their arms around the school again.”
She is taking on this monumental task by her lonesome with the blessings of her class of 1983 classmate Principal Erin Savage. Both were very active in high school with Sherman-White being senior class secretary and Savage being senior class treasurer.
Next year’s Alumni Night will coincide with the inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony, and by the number of alumns that attended this year, it will surely be a success. To keep the buzz around the school going, Sherman-White is also implementing a Wall of Fame for alumni who have gone on to achieve success outside of sports.
So far, a Greek Night was held two weeks ago where all of the different Greek organizations came out and demonstrated to current students what college fraternity and sorority life are all about. And this Monday, Feb. 5 saw Senior Night, where graduating seniors on the basketball team were celebrated. Helping make the night a success were parents who once played on the team joined by their children who are currently on the team.
“We are trying to engage students, parents and the community,” she said. “We want the community to support us.”
Sherman-White is looking to develop a cohort of alumni to help drive events and find financial sponsors to help offset some of the funding that the school lacks.
“We know that there is a spirit for Lakewood, we just want to rekindle it,” she finished.
For those interested in helping plan alumni events or donate to the school, please call Sherman-White at 727-674-8224.