Corn Boil a chance for Batavia to come together
By Denise Linke For Sun-Times Media August 24, 2013 4:56PM
Football players scrimmage at the Corn Boil. | Denise Linke ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 27, 2013 6:21AM
BATAVIA — Some Midwest schools present their fall Corn Boils as semi-formal receptions. Veterans groups post the colors, the band performs in full uniform and each student involved in a fall sport gets introduced to the crowd, which dutifully applauds every name.
Friday’s Corn Boil at Batavia High School felt more like a community block party. Children ran and played on the football field while adults chatted in the stands, watched the band, cheerleaders and sports teams practice, and checked out the Sports Boosters spirit wear booth, as well as other booths raising funds and awareness for a host of school and community civic groups.
“This works,” said Batavia resident Bernie Czekajlo as he leaned on the top railing of the bleachers to watch the football team scrimmage behind the stadium. “I like to come out, talk with my neighbors and see all the kids on the teams get back to practice. I know half the kids on the teams here because they’ve all been playing on the same local teams since they were in kindergarten together, just like my kids. That’s just the kind of town Batavia is.”
“I’m here to support the school and support my son,” added Czekajlo’s friend, Tom Hlava, who was scanning the field for his son, varsity linebacker Jake Hlava. “I like the Corn Boil because it brings the community together for a good cause, and it’s a nice way to get everyone fired up before the football season starts.”
The Corn Boil also helps parents plug back into the school volunteer network, noted event volunteer organizer Leslie Lundberg from her seat behind the volunteer information table.
“It’s a great time for all parents to come out and volunteer for school programs, as well as a chance for volunteers to reconnect with each other after the summer,” she said. “Batavia is awesome. The Corn Boil has already started and we still have people coming up and saying, ‘Where can I help?’”
For Jennifer Weege and her younger daughters, Eva and Violet, the event offered the chance to watch big sister Olivia make her Bulldog Marching Band debut as a freshman flutist.
“This is our first experience with the Corn Boil, and we’ve been enjoying it,” Jennifer Weege stated. “It’s particularly interesting to watch the band rehearse and see all the energy and work that goes into their performance.”
“I like the music because my sister’s playing, and I like to see the dance teams,” added 9-year-old Eva, herself a dance student.
The Weeges weren’t the only ones focused on the music.
“The band and younger siblings are what brought us here,” asserted Class of 2013 graduate Mike Fornari, who was sitting at the top of the stands with former classmates Brandt Miller, Myles Dorado, Mel Rush, Riley Ano and Ethan Mole.
They agreed they were enjoying one last high school tradition before leaving for college this week.
“It feels a little weird being here,” Dorado commented. “It’s a good feeling to have graduated, but it’s going to be very different not being back here for the school year.”
Starting this season, the high school will found a new tradition designed for alumni who return to the stadium at game time. Band members, cheerleaders and dance team members premiered the “Alma Mater Song,” a school song for Batavia High School graduates of all ages. The easy-to-sing tune sounds like a school anthem from a 19th century college, while the words celebrate memories of growing up in “the Windmill City” on the “banks of the old Fox River.”
“The football players will join the band, the cheerleaders and the dance teams and sing this at the end of every home game,” said Band Director Benjamin Collins. “It will be a new piece of Batavia High School history.”