The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Teachers Renew Program to Support Girls Varsity Basketball

Trojan+T.R.U.E.sters+gift+bags+are+prepared+ahead+of+the+girls+varsity+basketballs+first+game+of+the+season+by+math+teacher+Madi+Zink.+Zink+is+one+of+more+than+a+dozen+teachers+who+have+signed+up+to+take+part+in+the+program+and+provide+gift+bags+throughout+the+season+for+the+team.+Courtesy+photo.
Trojan T.R.U.E.sters gift bags are prepared ahead of the girls varsity basketball’s first game of the season by math teacher Madi Zink. Zink is one of more than a dozen teachers who have signed up to take part in the program and provide gift bags throughout the season for the team. Courtesy photo.

When Spanish teacher Rachel Gehres decided  that she wanted to restart the “Basketball Moms” program last year, there were many big decisions that had to be made.

“Everything was just in the idea phase,” Gehres said.

But she knew she had to start somewhere. After observing the lack of supporters during the girls basketball games last year, she decided she wanted to change that atmosphere. Gehres was previously part of a program called “Basketball Moms,” which was a group of women teachers that supported the girls’ basketball team 12-15 years ago.

The first thing Gehres did to restart the program was talk to Athletic Director Nikki Norris and Principal Ashley Schwarzbek to ensure everything would be okay to start. She then sent out an email to staff members and teachers asking them if they wanted to participate and if they had any ideas for a new name for the program.

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“We want to make sure that it’s not just female staff members that are supporting the team, and make it more inclusive,” Gehres said.

The name that was chosen to replace “Basketball Moms” was “Trojan T.R.U.E.sters.” According to Gehres, the name is supposed to represent boosting school spirit within the girls basketball community.

Gehres’s long-term goal is to support as many student-athletes as possible, including spring and fall sports, as well as actors in the plays and club members.

“We would like to branch out because our boys football and basketball are so popular, and there are so many other great things happening at the school,” Gehres said.

Trojan T.R.U.E.sters gift bags are prepared ahead of the girls varsity basketball’s first game of the season by math teacher Madi Zink. Zink is one of more than a dozen teachers who have signed up to take part in the program and provide gift bags throughout the season for the team. Courtesy photo.

In the past, girls basketball athletes would receive goodie bags for home games and locker signs for away games. The program participants wore special shirts, committed to attending a game and organized a pizza party for the athletes at the end of their season. While the Trojan T.R.U.E.sters program is still in the planning stages, Gehres would like to have buttons and goodie bags made.

“Our main goal is to just let our girls know we love them too,” Gehres said.

Varsity girls basketball player Sophie Klinger(12) loved the idea of teachers taking the initiative to get the girls basketball program more support.

“I think that the little things really go a long way. And showing players support gives us that extra boost of confidence going into games,” Klinger said. “But the biggest thing is just showing up and showing your support, not even getting gifts. I think just being there and showing that you care about the program and showing that you want us to be successful is the biggest part of it.”

Gehres is hoping that people will see the good work she is doing to support the girls basketball program and that people will want to join.

“We are starting small, but hoping to grow!” Gehres said.

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Omolola Fore Ogunfolabi, Staff Writer
Omolola Fore Ogunfolabi is in the class of 2026 and is a staff writer for Portrait.  This is her first year on staff as a sophomore.  Omolola's favorite thing about journalism is hearing everyones stories and experiences, she believes that they deserve to be heard and journalism gives her a chance to do that.   When she's not in the newsroom, Omolola plays basketball, runs track, goes to the gym, and enjoys shopping.

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