By Garth Shanklin
With the sound of shovels meeting earth and the tossing of dirt, construction on Williamsburg’s Abrams Stadium upgrade officially began on Monday, August 7.
A crowd of roughly 50 people gathered at Williamsburg High School for the event, including staff, students and community leaders. State Representative Doug Green began the ceremony by talking about how community can help students become better people.
“We have community members who care about the community,” “They care about the education of the children, and the character that’s being built. This is another tool and another opportunity to build a foundation in a student’s life.”
Williamsburg Board of Education President Greg Wells spoke on the history of Williamsburg’s track team, which spent most of its existence without a home.
“For many, many years, Williamsburg has been a track and field power house, and we didn’t have a track,” Wells said. “We were nomads. We would practice anywhere and every where. If there was a flat piece of ground, we were practicing on it. If there was a field someone would lend us, we were running in it. It’s amazing what we’ve done for so many years with so very little.”
Now, the Wildcats will complete the dream that began with the construction of the track.
“All those dreams have culminated, and we celebrate it,” Wells said. “If you spend any time with me at all, you hear me talk about legacy. There is rich legacy in this community. We’ve learned lesson after lesson in defeat, celebrated victories over our archrivals, crowned champions, and molded student leaders. With the construction of this new stadium, history is being re-written.”
One constant throughout the ceremony was the emphasis on community. The facility will be built with more than athletics in mind.
“The 3,500 square-foot multipurpose room is not just for athletics, or education,” Board of Education Vice President Jeff Cummins said. “It’s for community building, for whatever use you could think of for the next 50 years or more.”
The final speaker of the half-hour long event was Brian Abrams, who began by evoking the Williamsburg community spirit once again.
“Mom, Dad and I are very humble,” Abrams said. “We’ve heard a lot words today about thanks and accolades and community spirit. This is what this project is all about: community spirit.”
Abrams said watching the teams take the field in the fall in the new stadium is something he’s awaiting.
“I look forward to the ribbon cutting, but what I really look forward to is the first home game next fall,” Abrams said. “The crowd is cheering and going wild, the Marching Wildcats play the fight song and we raise the volley cheer on high and shake the thunder from the sky. A new era of championships begin here at Williamsburg, and new traditions and winning ways, as it always should be.”
He also noted the importance of everyone in the Williamsburg community working together to better the village as a whole.
“The thanks really goes to everyone here in the community,” Abrams said. “You make it happen. The parents, the educators, the school staff, the coaches. We’ve got good values in this community. It’s amazing, and it’s a humbling pleasure to be able to give back to such a great group of people.”