Fans of the Centennial Broncos may notice something a little flashier when they attend the school’s athletic events. New video boards in the west gym and at the football field will enhance the game-day experience and show visitors what’s happening at the school.
“It was time for new scoreboards,” Jenny Wagner, athletic director, said. “The football one was so old, we’d wonder if it would turn on.”
The Centennial school district had set aside some money for replacement scoreboards, but it would just cover the bare basics, Wagner said. She and the Centennial Booster Club looked for ways to raise money for something a little nicer.
In November 2018, Wagner attended an athletic directors’ conference and looked at the different options vendors had to offer. The scoreboards Daktronics presented caught her eye, but at $215,000, they cost much more than what Centennial had set aside.
Despite that, the company invited her and other district representatives Colin Bargen, CHS principal, and Jessica Breitkreutz, CHS technology teacher, to visit its headquarters in South Dakota.
Wagner approached the school board in December with a presentation featuring the Daktronics boards. She suggested offering a class to teach the technology, as well. She said 80% of the venues with video boards use this same technology, including HuskerVision. A class would give students a chance to learn skills they could use through college and beyond.
After visiting the Daktronics headquarters in January, Wagner went back to the board in February with an official proposal. The board gave the go-ahead, pending fundraising.
Within a week, Wagner said, she had sold four anchor spots and four premiere positions. The Coca-Cola Company and the booster club also gave donations to push the total raised to $220,000.
Wagner said she and Breitkreutz were invited to present at the Nebraska Association of School Boards.
“It’s taken off more than I expected,” she said.
With the money in-hand to purchase the video boards, the district went ahead with some upgrades like light-up lettering on the outdoor scoreboard.
Even so, Wagner said, the district didn’t have to dip into its funds.
“Our goal was to have it for district track,” Wagner said, adding that the weather didn’t allow the work to get done in time.
Now that the boards are installed at the football field and in the west gym, the new sports and entertainment marketing class will take over. Taught by Breitkreutz, Wagner and Leah Pankoke, the students will be in charge of designing the video presentations and running the boards at home games.
The class will also create 30-second commercials for the four anchor sponsors.
During the summer, Daktronics and Striv helped train the teachers, who are now teaching the students. The class is open to all high school students and can be taken all four years, if desired. Wagner said it’s mostly juniors and seniors, but underclassmen are in the mix.
Wagner said one class period was spent brainstorming, and the students presented some great ideas.
“We are excited to change the atmosphere,” Wagner said. “This will take it to another level.”
In addition to the athletic events, the boards will showcase other activities like the music and drama departments, she said.
“It will showcase all the the things all the kids are doing. It’s a great way to share,” Wagner said.