It all began with Eagles soccer captain Chase Smith. He and his Stargate Charter School teammates were playing games the old way, with referees and coaches keeping score themselves. That made it difficult for the audience to keep track of minutes in the game, goals scored and, well, sometimes it was confusing.
So Smith pushed for new scoreboards.
And on Sept. 28, after a school-community fundraising effort, the school finally got them. The two beautiful, state-of-the-art spectacles dazzle in purple, black and white team colors, and read: “Home of the Stargate Eagles.” And it proves the student athletes at the school in Thornton care not only about their matches, but the players that will come in the years ahead.
To complement the pristine, almost neon-green turf soccer fields, the new scoreboards were unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the Stargate boys soccer team took on the Prospect Ridge Academy Miners from Broomfield.
Though the scoreboards are the result of several dedicated members of the program and community, the school’s athletic director singled out Smith for a well-deserved shoutout.
“We want to recognize Chase Smith for his insights spearheading this project,” said Athletic Director David Logan. “He clearly has a passion for the game and Stargate School, and we are proud that he is an Eagle.”
Smith, when he’s not on the soccer field, which is hardly ever, works with members of the student council on a variety of different projects and ideas for the school, Logan said. After bubbling down several possible initiatives, Smith fired up the other council members to see it done.
“The refs have been our go-to, and obviously the coaches kind of keep track on their own,” said Dana O’Neill, head coach of the girls team. “I think that’s why it’s such a big deal. As a 3A school, a charter school, sometimes you have those stigmas about not being up to the Legacys and the Horizons of the world. But this brings us one step closer.”
Having a player be the catalyst of a project like this not only makes it more special, but it empowers other student athletes to care more about their programs.
O’Neill is going on her eighth year as a coach at Stargate this spring, and she said she’s seen the school and its programs grow from practically nothing.
“It feels like we’re just one step closer to being more legitimate – not that the program isn’t, but we started at ground zero,” she said. “And [Smith] is a student, which in my opinion makes it that much better. He was the head honcho of this. He started the real idea of ‘Let’s not just talk about it anymore, let’s make some moves.’”
Stargate was a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school from 1994, when it opened, until 2016, when the high school was added. Until recently, because of Stargate’s structure, it was difficult to get her players to stay after eighth grade, O’Neill said.
“To see the buy-in that we’ve had … girls stay now,” she said. “We were K-8 for so long and they’d go to [other schools], but I’ve started to get girls bought in that this is a good program. Last year was the first year where I felt my hard work was paying off.”
Having modern facilities, like the scoreboards now as well, only makes her job easier, she said.
Smith was, per usual, locking in for his soccer match.