A full agenda greeted attendees to the Athletic Achievement Banquet hosted by Pratt High School and the Greenback Booster Club.
Master of ceremonies Troy Maydew introduced Booster Club vice-president Lisa Reh who welcomed the audience and introduced outgoing and incoming Booster Club board members, and PHS senior Jonathan Schotte who delivered the invocation. The meal was catered by Hog Wild. While eating, attendees watched the Year in Review slideshow produced by Susan Pixler.
Following recognition of the Pratt High coaching staff by athletic director Curtis Nightingale, head basketball coach David Swank made a special presentation to retiring coach Andy Kisner. Kisner, who coached high school and middle school basketball and boys golf and also served as LMS athletic director, spent his entire 31-year career at USD 382—an unusual occurrence in today’s world.
In remarks to the crowd upon receiving his recognition, Kisner said he had known from his junior year in high school how he wanted to spend his life, and that he felt honored and fortunate to have been able to spend his entire career teaching and coaching in Pratt USD 382.
Pratt High principal Steve Blankenship and Nightingale then presented lifetime honorary memberships to the Greenback Booster Club to a pair of worthy recipients: Al Schoen, longtime PHS basketball and softball coach; and Dick Anderson, the Voice of the Greenbacks on KMMM radio.
Maydew then reviewed the achievements of the 32 senior athletes, after which Whitney Tilley was selected to speak on behalf of the class. Tilley expressed the pride and confidence that comes from being a Greenback athlete, and reminded her fellow athletes to savor the precious moments that come with athletic participation, and to make them worthwhile.
Tilley also reserved special words of affection for departing volleyball and girls basketball coach Dean Rausch, whom Tilley referred to as “one of the biggest influences in my life.” Tilley also told her fellow athletes that their athletic participation would continue to affect their lives— that being an athlete would mean that they would never stop working hard to achieve success and that they would know how to be graceful under pressure.
Keynote speaker Jeff McEntarfer was a 1994 PHS graduate who currently resides in Virginia and is a successful financial consultant. He has been involved in sponsoring sports clinics around the country featuring big name athletes—one of which is held annually here in Pratt.
In his address, he picked up on a theme from Tilley’s remarks—telling the assembled student-athletes that they would carry lessons they learned from participation in sports throughout their lifetimes. Speaking as a successful businessman, McEntarfer stressed the importance of teamwork in today’s workplace, and also explained that being in sports teaches one how to accept constructive ciriticism—a necessary job skill today. He further mentioned that life is a competition, and to succeed in life, one is going to have to know how to compete. Therefore, one who has been involved with athletics has a leg up in life on someone who hasn’t.
Page 2 of 2 - McEntarfer said another important lesson was to control the things you can control. Citing the example of KU and professional basketball player Nick Collison—with whom McEntarfer has worked in outing on youth clinics, McEntarfer stressed that one thing you can control is how hard you work.
Lastly, McEntarfer challenged the student-athletes to take advantage of what Pratt has to offer. Having grown up here, but lived in places like California and Virginia in his adult life, McEntarfer was able to express that growing up in Pratt is a unique formative experience for a young person. Admitting that today’s youth face myriad distractions which make it hard to remain focused, McEntarfer told his audience that, in his experience, growing up in Pratt was an important factor in his development. The facilities available and the relationships with teachers, coaches and classmates that one is able to cultivate make being a Pratt High School Greenback something special. He said the student-athletes should appreciate and embrace that fact.
Following the keynote address, Jake Eisenhauer on behalf of his family, presented the First Annual Judd Eisenhauer Scholarship award. In memory of Judd, the family has decided to award a scholarship annually to an athlete who displays the characteristics of leadership and athletic prowess. The recipient this year was Easton Herring, football and baseball letterman.
The culmination of the evening, as usual was the announcement of this year’s senior athletes. AD Curtis Nightingale presented this year’s awards to Skylar Dean and Hayden Pixler.
Dean was a three sport athlete. A 3-year football letterman, he was all-league as a junior and a senior, and was named HM all-state as a senior. In basketball, Dean lettered 3 years and was 2 years all-league as well as being named KBCA all-academic all-state as a senior. In baseball, Dean was all-league and all-area as a sophomore and a junior.
Pixler played volleyball and softball, lettering in volleyball as a senior and all 4 years in softball. She was named all-league and a 2nd team all-state outfielder as a junior. She also was a manager for winter sports all four years. The pair are worthy representatives of the senior athletes who graduate this spring, bringing an end to their tenure as active Greenback athletes.
Thus ended this year’s Greenback Booster Club banquet.
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