After a heartfelt presentation at the Siskiyou Union High School District board meeting on Wednesday, plans to name the Mount Shasta High School football stadium after Joe Blevins were allowed to move forward.
Former MSHS athlete Dana Hight spoke for the many supporters of the idea at the board’s meeting, held at McCloud High School on Aug. 8.
Plans include placing the backlit words “Welcome to the Joe Blevins Memorial Stadium,” as well as a Blevins quote, on the football field’s scoreboard, Hight said. The group also envisions bronze plaques at the entrances of the field.
The goal is to dedicate the stadium during a ceremony at the Sept. 28 MSHS Homecoming game.
Hight said the labor and equipment to change the scoreboard will be donated by reputable businesses who have already confirmed their participation. The main sponsor spot on the scoreboard is currently taken by Dannon, which is no longer in the area, he added.
The Remembering Blevins group has raised more than $1,500 for the plaques, he said, with more donations filtering in daily via donation jars placed around town.
Hight said any left over funds would be given to Jana Blevins to go toward the Joe Blevins Memorial Scholarship.
“The work, passion, and drive Joe Blevins put into athletics and later for the entire school district is commendable,” said Hight to board members John Hines, Lori Harch, Linda Wallace, Jay Clark, Margaret DeBortoli and Sue Tavalero. “Joe never asked for anything in return, he gave more than his share because he loved his job, and he loved the students... I believe that Joe considered the stadium a trophy of Mount Shasta and the high school and I think we should give the stadium to Joe as his own personal trophy.”
Hight referred to a Facebook group that sprang up after Blevins’ passing on June 21, which has since blossomed to include more than 800 members. He said he was speaking for everyone in the group by asking for the district to allow the memorialization.
Also standing to speak to the board was Stacey Mack, wife of MSHS football coach Todd Mack, who was unable to make it to the meeting. Stacey said she and Todd are in full support of the idea before becoming too emotional to say more.
Gregg Gunkel, former MSHS principal and Area 2 SUHSD candidate, asked if there is any protocol for memorializing people. Though he said he supports the effort to memorialize Blevins, he wanted to ensure the stadium wasn’t already a memorial to someone else, like former Booster Club president Bob McGregor.
The MSHS track is named for former student and professional football player Jason Sehorn, Hight said, and McGregor was memorialized with a basketball tournament in his name. However, Hight said he is reaching out to both Sehorn and the McGregors to ensure renaming the field isn’t a problem for anyone.
Superintendent Mike Matheson confirmed that far as anyone knows, the field is still unnamed. He said there is no set protocol for memorializations, and some discussion ensued about how to properly rename the field.
Trustee Clark, who represents the Happy Camp area, said he believes naming a facility after someone is “just something that pops up locally as adulation for somebody worthy,” and said he doesn’t believe official board approval is necessary. Trustee DeBortoli agreed. The McCloud High School gymnasium was named for her husband, Doug, in 1995.
After deciding that taking board action would be fitting, because Blevins was a member of the board and also because the change would be recorded for posterity with board approval, the trustees ultimately decided to allow the group to move forward in order to complete the project in time for Homecoming.
Hight will work with MSHS principal Jennifer McKinnon to begin the process.