The Black Knight Athletic Club: Changing the Face of CHS Sports

The Black Knight Athletic Club: Changing the Face of CHS Sports

Henry Burnett, Staff Writer

     Change is coming in the Athletic Department at Charlottesville High School, and it is coming fast.  Hannah Catherine Munro and Raul Arbelaez and other parents of the community lead the Black Knight Athletic Club (BKAC). The club is making an immediate impact in the school system. Meeting every few weeks, the BKAC is working towards “[providing] financial and organizational support”, per their mission statement on their website. After a long time of no such club, over the past year the BKAC has come into formation and has begun to take strides. With the help from students, teachers, administrators, and community members the program looks to continue its growth and effectiveness into 2023 and beyond.

     The first meeting was sometime in the later half of the 2022 summer,  this is when the group initially put forth the idea to officially start the organization. Before this, Hannah Catherine Munro (current club president) told me that there has been no athletic club “in recent history” which has proved to create difficulties in funding in the athletic department. At first, a group of parents, led by Lori Shinseki– current secretary– would meet somewhat frequently to discuss possible fundraising opportunities such as working the concession stands at sporting events and helping with pre-game meals. Munro says that Shinseki, who “gave a lot of energy,” was a key organizer and reached out to her and other parents to help. After fluid, loose meetings the group became a full non-profit organization. 

     In the fall, at the beginning of the football season, their main goals were to work the concession stands and make food for the team and viewers. Raul Arbeleaz, current head of sponsorships and club VP, also came up with the idea to put up banners from local companies. Organizations have the opportunity to get a small banner for $450 and/or a large banner for $600 to promote their business at the high school and support CHS athletics. Companies are still available to do this and if interested should visit Other fundraising systems included selling apparel at the games, which the club is looking to continue into the spring seasons with specific sports gear along with broad CHS athletic clothing. They have partnered with Rivanna Gear and Apparel who helps to provide the gear. As the spring season approaches, the organization plans to continue working concessions, selling banners and apparels, and receiving donations on their website.

     At a club meeting, on Thursday, February 9th, they discussed many timely events and activities. They started by introducing the head varsity football coach, Jeff Woody, who has large plans for the program and hopes to start in the classroom by raising grades. Woody spoke on his hopes and goals, and also asked the organization for aid on certain monetary needs. They then heard a treasurer’s report, which consisted of the very intriguing announcement that they were two-thirds of the way to their $10,000 goal. So far they have received donations which have amounted to $8,314, purely from gifts from the community (not including the sponsorships). Anyone wanting to support the athletic department can go to their website and make a donation, which goes 100% to the department. They then discussed various ways to raise money this spring, looking to continue their processes in the fall and winter along with a few new ideas such as selling apparel at the winter sports banquet. Lastly they heard from Andy Jones, the CHS Director of Student Activities, who gave a spring sports preview and talked about new sports teams and coaches in the department. The meeting felt very welcoming and positive, everyone pitched in and voiced their opinions. The organization is well-ran and is definitely in line to have a very successful future.

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