2018-19 Commissioner’s Cup Competition Winners Announced

Independence Head Football Coach Mike Natoli barking instructions to players.
2018 Patriots in action.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association recently announced the eight winners of the Commissioner’s Cup for community service during the 2018-19 school year.  In the 4A Division category the Independence High School Football team received top honors, along with the Panther Creek High School Cross Country team.

The Commissioner’s Cup award is based on community service.  The schools had their teams identify a need within the community and then create a plan to conduct a service project.  The competitors had to submit a 1-minute video of the project to explain how the team served the community, the impact of the project upon the community, the number of residents served, the theme of the project and photos from the event.  Winners each receive a $1000 stipend for their respective team or school athletic program.

The Independence football team was sponsored by Marie Matthews, who implemented “Victory Day” a day of education, inspiration and fun on the gridiron for their Extension Program students at the high school and Mint Hill Middle School.  For the special day event, 38 youngsters and teenagers with cognitive disabilities were provided with a full “game day experience.”

Each participant was given the opportunity to play football, cheer with the cheerleaders, or march with the band while their parents, family members, caregivers, and educators witness the realization of a dream becoming a reality for the students who participated in the the program.

Victory Day was founded, created, and implemented on the belief of building character and self esteem.  The importance of these two character traits, how they can have a positive influence to students academically and in establishing the fundamentals necessary to be successful both on and off the football field.  Learning to maintain a “Positive Mental Attitude” can make a tremendous difference in an individuals outlook on life.




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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran’s affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.