$1 million transformation for Griffin football already making a difference

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

Home field advantage was never a thing for Gateway Charter High School.

“Our motto was we go anywhere and play anywhere,” Gateway Charter Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Benjamin Daley said.

Since the school opened in 2004 the Griffins did not have a home football field, now they finally do.

“For the program, for the community, it’s huge,” Daley said. “My boys have a sense of ownership.”

Daley worked with Charter Schools USA, Gateway Charter and his own players and their parents to raise the money necessary.

Senior AJ Loriston told me playing at home with fans in the stands is a big deal.

“It feels nice to have my family, friends and people from past years to come see how this program is now,” Loriston said.

Gateway Charter joins Bishop Verot, Evangelical Christian and Fort Myers as the only Lee County schools to have a turf field.

There’s lights, bleacher seats for 900, weight room upgrades, new bleachers in the gymnasium and as part of the upgrades new classrooms too.

Daley told me helping the school get better athletically and academically is his goal.

“A lot of these kids, they now have a reason to be at school and do things the right way because they want to be part of athletic programs,” Daley said.

Loriston told me he hopes this is only the beginning for Griffin athletics.

He and his teammates raised money for a scoreboard set to be installed sometime next week.

“I feel like when the little kids are in the stands watching us play, it gives them encouragement and support thinking maybe we should come out and play to keep rebuilding this community and this team,” Loriston said.

In other words, if you build it they will come.

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