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South Park Sparks get second homecoming from city and words of praise from school board

Less than a week after becoming New York’s public high school football champions, the South Park Sparks received a second homecoming celebration from the City of Buffalo. The players, coaches, and cheerleaders visited Mayor Byron Brown who declared December 2 as South Park Sparks Day. The group then traveled to Wednesday night’s meeting of the Buffalo School Board where they were given a hero’s welcome.

The school’s chorus opened the meeting with a rendition of John Legend’s “Glory” featuring one of the members of the football team.

Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman was among those who congratulated the team and offered words of praise.

“We do not often hear very positive things about our students and our district,” Belton-Cottman said. “We hear all the things that make people frown. But you guys put a smile on the entire districts’ faces.”

Belton-Cottman encouraged the team to use the championship as grounds to build their education on. She urged the young athletes to take up the game of chess to better themselves and learn how to make positive moves not only on the game board, but in life.

Board Member Carl Paladino gave the team a big picture perspective, recalling the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl defeats of the 90s and noting that it was long before any of the young high school players were born. He said the Sparks have finally brought some closure to the city.

“You’ve brought us a winner,” said Paladino. “You had your Super Bowl and you made us proud. We finally had some closure to all those terrible years of watching our team. So thank you on behalf of the citizens of this city.”

South Park is the first team in the history of the Buffalo Public Schools to bring home a state championship. They beat Our Lady of Lourdes from Poughkeepsie 49 to 46 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse last Friday.

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Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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