‘Tailgate dinner’ kicks off Parkrose High football season

See why many folks came for the party –
and stayed to see the game …

He’s the “Parkrose Can Man” – he runs returnable container drives that support Parkrose school activities the first Saturday morning of each month at Parkrose Middle School. It’s Dave Luce, who prepares to enjoy the buffet dinner served at the Tailgate Party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
School spirit was running high on September 5 at Parkrose High School, before the Parkrose Bronco’s football team took on their first opponents of the year.

In addition to family and friends supporting the team’s first outing, about 100 community members and school district supporters also gathered near the athletic field for the annual “Tailgate Dinner.”

Jon Taylor, Parkrose High’s offensive coordinator for the Broncos football team, enjoys the evening with event organizer Mary Larson, Principal Roy Reynolds, and District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray.

“Each year, we sell tickets to this fund raiser at our annual education foundation auction,” explained event coordinator Mary Larson.

“The district office administrators sponsor this evening’s event. The money we raise goes directly to Parkrose Education Foundation,” Larson continued. “The funds help supplement supplies, services, and programs for the district.”

For example, the foundation, we learned, has purchased playground equipment and Parkrose Middle School band instruments. “We’re estimating that were serving a hundred people tonight, and will raise about $2,500,” she added.

Jeff Vigue and Julie Frangipani from Chartwell School Dining Services do a masterful job grilling up steaks and chicken. Asked how where he trained to be a chef, Vigue smiled and replied, “Actually, I’m the sales account representative.”

Gourmet three-course dinner served
The meal, laid out buffet style, was a complete dinner – not just weenies, nachos and popcorn. Under canopies, guests sat at cloth-covered tables decorated in the school’s colors.

The feast started off with a platter of grilled vegetables and fresh green salad. The entrees were freshly-barbequed lean, tender, and perfectly-cooked steak and succulent chicken, accompanied by freshly-mashed potatoes and fresh corn-on-the-cob. Large slices of strawberry-covered cheesecake wrapped up the meal.

Everyone with whom we spoke characterized the repast as delightfully toothsome, and gave kudos to the foodservice staff and volunteer servers.

The Parkrose High Cheer Squad teaches folks at the Tailgate Dinner a traditional cheer.

Connecting with the community
The high school’s Principal, Roy Reynolds, smiled as he looked over the lively setting.

“It’s important that this event raises money for a good cause. But that’s secondary to providing a connection between our schools and our community and extended communities,” commented Reynolds.

Kathy Keim-Robinson, director of student services at the Parkrose School District, helps Dr. Gray sell Score Pool slots.

Calls football a ‘marquee sport’
“I’m absolutely delighted to see the support we’re getting this year,” Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray told us, sitting down for a moment after she finished selling mid- and end-game score pool raffle.

“I love seeing so many people wearing their green Parkrose T-shirts, learning a cheer from the Parkrose Cheer Squad, and meeting guests from our opposing team from The Dalles. Our players and coaches look sharp in their uniforms – its like were serious and were ready to win.”

The Broncos get last minute instructions from their coaches before the game.

Ready, HIKE! The Broncos defend on a second down.

The Parkrose Cheer Squad works up the fans in the stands.

Gray said she’s encouraged the school to build their football program. “There are two main ‘marquee sports’ – football and basketball. People love to go to football games; it brings them together, and promotes a culture of working together.”

The energy these activities can engender in a community can’t be underestimated, Gray added. “It’s more than the sport itself; it’s more than the score. But, winning would be great!”

Broncos footballers put the big hustle on the visiting team from The Dalles.

Perhaps next game …
By game time, fans started filling the grandstand, as the Parkrose High Band played rousing tunes. The Cheer Squad changed, danced, and one young squad member demonstrated this athletic prowess by doing backward handsprings the length of the stadium.

As the sun lowered in the sky, giving Mt. Hood an alpenglow in the distance, the non-conference game against The Dalles High School team kicked off.

Although Parkrose High put up a valiant effort, they were bested by the visitors 32 to 6. Why not check in, under the Friday night lights, and cheer on this hardworking team next week?

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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