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Letterman’s Club members hope to make difference

by Merrie Leininger

Douglas High School students are out to prove they are more than the stereotype of thoughtless, self-involved young people.

Members of the newly-revived Letterman’s Club, Block D, say they wanted to get involved and help the school and community.

“The best thing about the club is being involved and making a difference,” said vice president Joe Andrews, a senior football player and track runner. “Boosting school spirit is a big one for me. I think if you are part of something, it’s good to be enthusiastic about it. I take pride in my school and how it looks and how the people act. It’s Douglas and I’m proud to say I’m from Douglas.”

Josh Nussbaum and Kyle Wertz are council member representatives for the club and senior football players, and are responsible for a lot of the spirit raised at basketball games, teacher and advisor Ernie Monfiletto said.

“They are truly the foundation of the spirit at games. Sometimes they are the sideshow. They’ve taken it upon themselves to increase the spirit. They dress up and paint their faces and cheer and heckle,” he said.

Kyle said the club was also a response to the growing school spirit.

“I think it’s important to promote school spirit because some kids think they are too cool to get involved,” he said. “I love high school and I’ve only got a half year left. I’ve got to put as much into it so I can get as much out of it as I can. Block D disproves the stereotypes that athletes are stupid and don’t care about anything but sports.”

Other council members include Stephanie Combes and Kaitlyn Doyle.

The students, which include not only athletes, but anyone who has earned a letter for extracurricular activities, are raising money through the sale of raffle tickets at basketball games and selling towels and T-shirts. They used part of that money to recently buy Christmas gifts for 11 underprivileged children.

They also have been out caroling and will soon be visiting a senior center and repairing the “D” on the hill above Genoa.

President Kim Gitthens, a senior who has lettered in basketball, volleyball, cross country and softball, said the club helps students who have good intentions, but just don’t know where to start.

“We are willing to serve others and give our time. A lot don’t know how to get involved,” Kim said.

According to Monfiletto, these are the kids that get things done. He said it was the students who approached him about reviving the club, which had not been active at DHS for 10 years.

“Some students expressed a desire to restart it. I felt the school certainly needed a morale boost. This year’s seniors have responded well and taken it full charge,” he said.

There are about 65 active members. To be in the club, the students have to have a letter, 70 percent attendance, a 2.0 percent GPA and commit to 10 hours of community service a semester.

Martina Oxoby is a junior who has lettered in swimming for two years. She is also a legacy of sorts. Her father was in Block D when he was a DHS student.

“I wanted to be involved in the community and get more people involved in sports,” she said.

The other projects planned are repainting and cleaning up the campus and organizing the spring carnival that was started last year by Monfiletto’s government class. The funds raised by the carnival go to scholarships for Block D seniors and to a community organization. Last year, one-third of the money was donated to the Family Support Council.

Monfiletto said the club has been gathering support from the community in order to improve the D. The National Guard has agreed to airlift the white rock that will be donated by Carson Valley Garden and Ranch. He said the students will hike to the D and place the rock inside guard rails so the D will not fade as it has in the past when it was just painted.