First Posted: 1/26/2011 6:23:05 PM | Last Updated: 1/26/2011 9:23:04 PM
The IHSAA and the Indianapolis Colts are proud to announce that McCutcheon High School has been named the winner of the first annual Blue Horseshoe Award. The award recognizes the outstanding efforts of a high school football program whose acts of service better their community.
The IHSAA and the Indianapolis Colts teamed to launch the statewide program in 2009. IHSAA member football teams are invited to complete community service projects during the off-season. The program offers opportunities for football players to develop as teammates, aid their community, and promote their school.
McCutcheon was among four finalists for the Blue Horseshoe Award. Football teams from Caston High School, Lebanon High School, and New Palestine High School all performed activities that made tremendously positive impacts in each of their communities.
The McCutcheon Mavericks created the Tippecanoe Football Camp, a football camp for children with special needs. Senior Clay Oppy conceived the idea as a way to better understand the challenges that are faced by many physically and mentally handicapped individuals. With the help of his teammates and guidance from head coach Ken Frauhiger and the coaching staff, the first Tippecanoe Football Camp took place on September 20, 2009. At the camp, the McCutcheon student-athletes helped children with Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism go through modified football drills, try on equipment, and enjoy other social activities. The camp’s impact on the children, their parents, and the team itself was immediate.
Due to the success of the inaugural camp, the team elected to extend the project into six monthly social mini-camps that featured pizza parties, Christmas and Valentine’s Day dances, and a St. Patrick’s Day party. Additionally, the team began a letter-writing program as football players and coaches sent well wishes to the children they befriended at the camps.
With the theme “Touch someone’s life…and make a difference,” the Mavericks reached out to over 100 children and adults from five different counties. The Arc of Tippecanoe provided assistance at several of the mini-camps, and due to their involvement, over 800 Arc Organizations are reviewing the program for possible adoption in communities throughout the country. While reflecting on the Tippecanoe Football Camp, Team Project Liaison Chris Oppy expressed, “The program is not about raising dollars or collecting items. Rather, it is about collective volunteerism to make social change, making a community better on a permanent basis.” The Mavericks plan to continue these camps for years to come.
The IHSAA and the Indianapolis Colts commend the McCutcheon Maverick football program for their teamwork off the playing field that made the Tippecanoe Football Camp a success and contributed toward the betterment of their community. The Mavericks will be honored on January 2, 2011 at Lucas Oil Stadium as the Colts take on the Tennessee Titans in their final regular season game.