Back the Pac

Lisa Hees and Christa Gilder at last year’s event

Pinecrest High School sports fans and anyone seeking a lively evening supporting excellence in student development will find it at the fourth annual Back the PAC event from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Fair Barn on Saturday, March 21.

“We are looking to host more than 500 guests, showing them a wonderful time with fantastic items to bid on in live and silent auctions, music by the popular DJ King Curtiss, beer and wine, and food from Elliott’s on Linden,” says Christa Gilder, auction co-chair. “We’re also celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pinecrest High School, so it’s going to be a fantastic night.”

The event’s goal is to generate $150,000 to support Pinecrest’s student athletes.

Tickets are $50 each and $500 for a table of 10. Upgraded VIP tickets are available and include a Pinecrest High School 50th anniversary commemorative beer flight or wine glass, cocktails from Reverie Cocktails, premium wine and local beer.

Items up for bid in the auctions span a wide range, from VIP parking at the school’s 2020 graduation ceremony to an evening with Baxter Clement and Chef Wallace Beeson to specialty vacation packages.

“We will have more than 200 auction items, so there will be something for everyone,” says Lisa Hees, auction co-chair. “Our community has been so very supportive of our efforts and has been exceedingly generous in donating so many amazing auction items.”

Early event sponsors include Bode Chiropractic Center; Chick-fil-A; Cooper Ford; Cornerstone Wealth Advisors; FirstBank; Lorenz & Creed Law Firm, PLLC; McNeill Oil & Propane; McPeake Hotels; Meridian Kiosks; Michael Leach State Farm; Parish Sign & Service; Pinehurst Surgical Sports Medicine; The Pilot; Star 102.5; The Stites Team at Keller Williams Realty; Van Camp, Meacham and Newman, PLLC; Van Scoyoc Periodontics and Implants; and Veterans Guardian. More sponsorship opportunities are available.

Created in 2016, the Pinecrest High School Athletics Booster Club, known as the PAC, provides support and funding for all athletic teams at the school through projects, fundraisers, concessions and other special events. This support includes improving facilities and equipment, supplementing funding of extra needs for athletic actives and promoting school spirit.

“The cost to support more than 1,000 student athletes at Pinecrest is significant,” says Pinecrest Athletic Director Jeff Hewitt. Expenses include field maintenance, bus driver expenses, mandatory equipment recertification, bus fuel and maintenance, referee pay, gate help, custodial support, insurance event booking fees, trainer supplies and annual membership fees to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Team uniforms and equipment are funded by individual teams.

The majority of the non-salary-related funds come from sporting event gate receipts, but it doesn’t generate enough funds for safe and up-to-date facilities.

“While many schools use a ‘pay-to-play’ funding model to support their athletic programs, Pinecrest is committed to ensuring sports are available for all students,” says Hees. “The Back the PAC event provides significant funding for the organization’s annual budget.”

Hewitt adds, “Our goal is to give all of our student athletes the opportunity to have the best facilities in Moore County. We want to create a first-class experience for our kids.”

In particular, proceeds from this year’s event will be used for student athlete scholarships, construction of a freestanding building for baseball and men's soccer and upgrades to the Pinecrest Practice Field Complex.

“Because of continuous usage throughout the year the practice field is in poor condition,” says Hewitt, noting that numerous community organizations use the practice field on a regular basis. “Holes and depressions in high-traffic areas have become a concern. Our goal is to have safe, smooth, grass-covered fields for all teams to practice on.”

Funds generated from previous Back the PAC events were used to award scholarships, renovate and up-fit the women’s weight and locker rooms, paint the interior of the main gymnasium and upgrade the gym’s speaker system. Smaller projects also funded by the event include a new ice machine in the training room to better serve injured athletes, a fogger machine to combat MRSA and staph infections in the weight and locker rooms, and a video and performance analysis teaching tool called Hudl.

Since its inception, the organization has raised approximately $280,000.

“For an organization that is not quite five years old, we have received tremendous community support so we can back our athletes,” says Hewitt.

“We are so fortunate to offer a broad range of sports at Pinecrest,” says Gilder. “Kids with all kinds of interests can participate in sports, while gaining skills in teamwork, goal setting, persistence, fitness and leadership. The PAC is committed to supporting all of these sports teams and ensuring that all students have the opportunity to play.”

Tickets for the March 21 Back the PAC event may be purchased from any Pinecrest High School athletic team coach, at the school’s main office at 250 Voit Gilmore Lane in Southern Pines or by contacting Lisa Hees at Lisa.A.Hees@gmail.com. Sponsorships are still available and may be secured by contacting Christa Gilder at (910) 528-1437 or Christa.gilder@mzero.com.

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