On Feb. 13 the Port Allen High athletic department got a big surprise — a $10,000 kind of surprise.
The school was on a modified schedule with a pep rally set for 2:40 p.m. Shortly before the pep rally, representatives from Coca Cola began setting up Powerade streamers all around the gym with Max 94.1 radio station decorating the gym walls with company stickers.
“Everybody thought that one of the basketball teams were being given the team of the area award for being the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Team of the Week by the radio station,” said Port Allen assistant girls basketball coach Leonard Parker.
It turned out to be so much more than that.
The pep rally began with the congratulations to the girls' basketball team for capturing the District 8-2A championship and acknowledgment of the big home playoff game the team had the next day.
The Coke representative told the school about a Powerade video that the athletic department submitted last November. The 50 students and nine coaches who participated in the video were called onto the court.
He presented the school with a $10,000 contest winning check. Port Allen beat out over 140 other entries to capture the grand prize. Last year, the school was also fortunate to win $2,000 for the girls’ basketball team.
Parker directed the video that helped the girls’ basketball team win the contest last year and was also the architect of this year’s winner that included: cheerleaders, dance, baseball, girls basketball, volleyball, girls powerlifting, softball and the physical education department.
“I was so happy,” Parker said of winning the grand prize. “We had just come off the district championship. When we got that news, were on another high. I don’t think I went to sleep until 3 a.m. (Thursday) morning because my adrenaline was high.”
Parker put together a three-minute skit which included all participating sports team and submitted it to the Powerade committee. The theme of the contest was Power Your School.
“The requirement was that you had to say power your school at least once,” Parker said. “We said it about 30 times in our video.”
Paker’s sons and Port Allen Alumni Nicholaus and Marcus Parker had hands in the process. Nicholaus helped with the art graphics while Marcus edited the video. Leonard Parker said the original video sent was five minutes long and his son had to cut it down to three to fit the requirements.
“We couldn’t have done it without them (Marcus and Nicholaus),” coach Parker said.
Each coach will receive $1,111 for their program. The boys' basketball and football programs opted not to participate in the video to allow other sports to get a bigger piece of the prize money, Parker said.