For the past nine years, the Golden Eagle Booster Club has played a major role in ensuring every Ferndale High School student has an opportunity to enjoy the sport or extracurricular activity of their choice. Whether they’re donating uniforms, partnering with the City of Ferndale or Lummi Nation, or acting as a financial conduit for FHS clubs, the Booster Club is there to support local students.
“We want to – with the coaches’ assistance and parents’ help – make sure all the kids have an equitable opportunity, no matter their situation,” said Joe Lupo, president of the Booster Club since 2019. “We do small things that make a big impact.”
The Booster Club was established in 2014, and since then, over $500,000 has been generated and distributed to FHS programs, clubs and activities. In 2022 alone, the club fundraised about $30,000, primarily through their Ferndale Uncorked and Uncapped event, according to board member Deanna Bannerman. This year’s event will take place on June 17.
The list of gifts the Booster Club has provided FHS clubs and teams with over the past nine years is staggering: science lab necessities like test tubes. Uniforms for Unified basketball, wrestling, volleyball and more. Equipment like high jump mats, soccer goals and new robots to start the FHS robotics club.
The Booster Club also provides financial support for students to attend competitions and conferences for their clubs, such as the Latinx-focused MEChA Club or DECA. And this fall, when the Golden Eagles’ football team got a once-in-a-generation chance to play a game at Lumen Field in Seattle, the Booster Club purchased tickets for students to attend.
Clubs and athletic programs can also partner with the Booster Club as a free fundraising mechanism, Lupo said. Unlike many other fundraising methods, the Booster Club – whose members are all volunteer – does not take a cut of the proceeds.
“When a kid sells a dollar candy bar, they probably get maybe 55 cents of that,” Lupo said. “With us, they get 100% of the dollar – we’re a true non-profit.”
And even when a club handles the fundraising themselves, the Booster Club has helped make things smoother. For example, in recent years, club members have created QR codes for the FHS track team’s fundraising jog-a-thon, to make donations easier, Lupo said.
“People can now give electronically – they don’t have to write a check, they don’t have to have cash,” he said.
Finally, the Booster Club has used their community connections to benefit FHS. They collaborated with the Lummi Nation to install the school’s new readerboard on Vista Drive – the tribe provided the majority of the funds, and the Booster Club handled the installation logistics. The Booster Club also partnered with the City of Ferndale during the COVID-19 pandemic to use federal relief dollars for hand sanitizer stations at FHS, along with breathable face masks for the wrestling teams.
“Whether it’s a short-term or long-term sponsor, we love partners within the community,” Lupo said. “If somebody has an idea that they’re interested in bringing to the high school, we can help facilitate that.”
FHS Athletic Director Eric Tripp said the Booster Club has been a major support for Ferndale’s students.
“What I really appreciate is that they want to do what’s best for students and give them the best experience,” he said. “We have a great relationship and we’re also looking to grow in the future.”
The Booster Club is always looking for new members, Lupo said. If you’re interested in joining the club, or would like more information, visit www.fhs-boosters.com.
“We’d love to have you come to a meeting!” said Scott Locker, a founding member of the Booster Club. “We’ll share what we do, share our vision, and hopefully get the right people to help us grow this into something everybody in Ferndale can be real proud of.”