The Highlands High School football program in Fort Thomas, Kentucky is regarded as one of the premier high school programs in the country. They have won a total of 19 state championships, and recently won their third straight title in 2009! Their success on the field is more than many other teams could even dream; however, head coach Dale Mueller has always said that there is something bigger to be accomplished. This mentality made it possible for the team to extend their success beyond the field.
Beginning in 2005, the Highlands football team started a tradition of community service. The idea was suggested by coach Mueller’s wife and youngest daughter. They believed that it is important for the team to do something that will bless other people. Each spring the football team chooses someone or a charity that could benefit from a financial blessing. They spend an entire day helping people throughout the community of Fort Thomas with work around their homes. Coach Mueller explains, “Our annual Spring Clean has three goals.
- Raise money for someone in need.
- Help the people we are working for.
- Become better men and football players.”
The players take great pride in being able to help the community each year. Much of the work they do is outdoor yard work that is very labor intensive. This might include removing tree branches, mulching, digging, etc.
This work is always much appreciated because the team helps people who may not otherwise be able to accomplish the work themselves; but, with the Highlands Football team, the work is finished in just one day.
Ty Seidl, a senior on Highlands Football team, described how much the day means to him by saying “It really feels great to give back to the community that supports us all year long, and bless a family in El Salvador.” Ty spent the day of service removing trees and vines throughout a homeowner’s property.
This year The Fuller Center for Housing is happy to announce that the Highlands Football team has raised just over $5,000 to sponsor a house in El Salvador. Their tremendous generosity and hard work truly displays a servant’s heart.
The team found out about the Fuller Center’s building projects in El Salvador through one of their coaches. Lance Durbin, who coaches wide receivers for the championship team has been working with Highlands students for several years as a volunteer with the local Younglife program as well as the football program. Lance began coming to El Salvador with Serve Beyond Cincinnati, a group from the University of Cincinnati, in December 2007. He later led other groups down to work with the Fuller Center and recently spent 2.5 months volunteering in El Salvador. Lance says he is proud that several of the things he is most passionate about in life have come together through this project which will ultimately come together as shelter for a deserving family in El Salvador.