Respect. Responsibility. Citizenship. These were just a few of our community’s core values that shone bright under the Friday night lights on November 4 at Challenger Columbia Stadium. In anticipation of Veterans Day, students, staff and fans alike showed their appreciation to military servicemen and women during special pre-game and halftime ceremonies at the Clear Lake High School vs. Clear Springs High School varsity football game.
Stars & Stripes
With the League City Fire Department Ladder 2’s American flag perched high at the southeast end of the field, a full night of football was flanked by several points of tribute beginning with a Joint Service Color Guard, made up of cadets from both the Clear Lake and Clear Springs JROTC. While the Clear Lake High School Soundwaves choir performed the National Anthem, additional JROTC students, alongside their parents who serve in the military, proudly unfurled a large American flag on the field.
As halftime began, fans cheered and were brought to their feet as more than 60 wounded soldiers and their families were introduced from the sidelines, visiting from Warrior Transition Battalion, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Fort Sam Houston. Their VIP visit to the Bay Area was made possible by the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, Texas Chapter. “Our visitors were excited to be a part of such a special tribute,” said Rebecca Campbell, President, CEO and Founder of the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. “This year we were especially honored to welcome back one of CCISD’s own, Clear Creek High School alum Brandon Tennery, who was wounded during his tour in Afghanistan. I know it meant the world to him to experience to this level of honor and appreciation from his home town.”
The special visitors and thousands of fans were treated to the Clear Lake Falcon Flairs final high kick performance of the season and a special performance of Michael Sweeney’s ‘Marches of the Armed Services’ by the Lake and Springs bands.
Halftime then shifted to the skies as three military veterans and members of the Children of Fallen Soldiers Skydiving Team performed a skydiving demonstration, made possible by MaximGroup. The trio landed on Challenger Columbia Stadium field to the roar of the crowd as they brought in the game ball and U.S. flag. Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith then presented Purple Heart recipient Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Ed Matayka with the game ball in gratitude of his service and sacrifice. Serving as a U.S. Army Medic, Staff Sergeant Matayka was injured on July 2, 2010 in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Throughout the evening and in between plays, fans turned their attention to the stadium video board to watch special features on CCISD employees who served their country: Erich Kreiter, Gary Harjo, Kathleen Fairchild, and Deena Edwards symbolically represented the hundreds of CCISD employees who served their country and serve our students.
Another military hero was secretly among the thousands of fans in attendance and came down to the field to visit with the wounded soldiers. World War II Veteran TC Hughes served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific as a 3rd Class Petty Officer Radioman. Hughes spent time with several members of the Clear Springs High School Silverados who were visibly inspired with meeting the WWII Veteran.
“Having the opportunity to meet Mr. Hughes and many other esteemed veterans was an honor to say the least, especially since I have a long line of veterans in my family” said Clear Spring Sophomore and Silverado, Morgan Mathews. “We cannot thank them enough for all that they have done for our country, which is why the Silverados were proud to dedicate our performance to all servicemen and women. The experience we had of talking with those men and women was a very meaningful one that we won’t ever forget.”
Hughes is also the father of Dana Webb who works in the Clear Springs High School attendance office.