GW Graham Grizzlies get clubhouse upgrade

A $10,000 donation from a parent helped fund the renovation of a portable on school grounds.

The GW Graham Grizzlies have a new clubhouse at the school thanks to a generous parent.

Peter Kosmas stepped up with the bulk of the funds, which he originally thought could be used to buy on-field equipment like tackling dummies and blocking sleds.

“Little things to help the kids out,” he recalled. “But as we started discussing things, the realization set in that what they really needed was a clubhouse.

“I’ve been very fortunate in business, and it made me feel good to put it back into the community and a worthwhile program that a lot of these young boys are benefitting from.”

Kosmas donated $10,000. Most of it was sponsorship money from Kosmas’s businesses (Agassiz Liquor Store and Demetre’s Pizza in Chilliwack) earmarked to other groups that didn’t claim it.

Their loss is GW Graham’s gain.

“I look at this as a win-win situation where my son is getting tremendous benefits from the program,” Kosmas said. “It’s a program in need and I’m in position to help, so it was a really good fit.”

Kosmas’s son has autism.

He joined the Grizzlies in Grade 8 and immediately, Kosmas noticed a difference.

“It triggered something with him, an awakening of sorts, and I think it’s just the surroundings here,” Kosmas mused. “They took a kid who was basically a lump of coal, and he’s almost a starter now.

“He’s jacked about coming to practices. He’s jacked about the games and can’t wait to train in the offseason.”

“He lives and breathes football and it’s been a complete transformation.”

As Kosmas watched his son’s evolution, he started thinking, ‘If this is happening with him, what other positive things are happening with other guys on the team?’

“I commend the coaches and the time they put into all of them,” Kosmas said. “It’s obviously hard when you’ve got 60 kids running around to put time into each individual, but they seem to get through to them.

“And the fact that everything is tied to their academics. The players have to have their teachers sign off on them not screwing around in the classroom and making sure they’re getting their work done.

“It’s great the way athletics and academics are tied together at GWG.”

GWG athletic director Jake Mouritzen says the clubhouse won’t just serve the football program, and will impact many students.

“The new clubhouse has given us a state of the art facility that players and coaches can call home, and use for game and practice preparation, and other team events,” he said. “The facility will also be used in the spring with our boys and girls rugby programs and girls soccer program.

“This project for the Grizzlies is another amazing example of School District 33 schools connecting with community organizations to provide unique and special opportunities for students.”

GW Graham is prepping for the playoffs.

They’ve got a week off while the wild card entries do battle, and return to action Nov. 16 in a provincial quarter-final against either Holy Cross or John Barsby.

A win would put them into a provincial semi-final at B.C. place for a seventh year in a row.

eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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