W’burg Superintendent apologizes for trophy trashing, promises criteria for how trophies are displayed
Williamsburg Independent Superintendent Dr. Amon Couch promises that he understands how angry and frustrated Williamsburg alumni were last week after video came to light on social media showing school officials throwing about 40 old trophies into a school dumpster, and he promises that the situation will be rectified.
“There are all kinds of different trophies. There are championship trophies. There are runner-up trophies. There are eighth place trophies. There are participation trophies but they all mean something to somebody. Having kids of my own, I know that trophies mean something,” Couch said.
“We had some guys pitch some, several basketball trophies. It was members of the staff. It was a mistake. They were never meant to have been thrown away. After talking to them, there was no malice in it. When it comes to trophies that means a lot to people.”
The whole thing started as school officials started making preparations for hosting the 50th District basketball tournament. School officials started looking at the trophy cases, which are both old and full following decades of achievement.
Couch said that the top of one big trophy case is glass, which is unusual, and the case had started to pull away from the wall. It has hundreds of trophies inside and hundreds on top.
“Really all of them have been put in there without really any rhyme or reason,” Couch noted. “We noticed there were really important trophies behind trophies that really had no meaning. Our goal coming out of that was to identify the trophies that really needed to be shown properly and those that maybe that needed a more subdued display.”
Last Tuesday, a parent videoed about 40 of the trophies being thrown into a dumpster at the school sparking quite a backlash on social media in addition to several local calls to school officials and other town leaders.
“If they throw the sports history and all the accomplishments, they might as well do away with the school too. Such a travesty that they do something like this. A lot of people had a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for those and they just pitch them like they don’t matter,” one person wrote on social media along with 109 other comments that were made on the video’s post.
“This is just sad!!!!!” another person commented.
Couch said that he was informed about the matter about three hours after it happened while he was busy in Corbin getting a $1,200 check from Senture. Couch then sent a person to the dumpster to retrieve the trophies.
When the school official got there, some alumni were already there trying to get the trophies out of the dumpster. The trophies were retrieved from the dumpster and secured back in the school building.
Couch said that a handful of the trophies were damaged, and he plans to get those repaired.
Couch said that school officials plan to clean all the trophies before they are put back on display.
“A mistake was made, a miscommunication. We are trying to fix it as good as we can,” he said.
“I will never say this was much to do about nothing because this is important to people. We want to find the best solution here to rectify and move on.”
The trophies varied in type. Some were junior high. A few were high school. Some of the trophies are old and some are newer.
Couch said that the plan was and still is to develop criteria for what to display, and what to do with the remainder of the trophies.
“Every school in the country has to have this discussion at some point,” he added. “What do you do with these? Do you keep them all for time and memorial, or are there restaurants in town that maybe want some of them? Do you give them away to alumni or boosters? Those are things that we need to decide after we secure the cases.”
Couch said that he wasn’t surprised by the reaction of the alumni and school community to the trophy incident, and he is actually pleased that the community cares so much.
“This is a situation that is unfortunate that we wish had never happened. As superintendent obviously the buck stops with me,” Couch said. “It is regrettable, but it is fixable. There weren’t any trophies that were damaged beyond repair. We will get those fixed. We will work on whatever may have glitched up.”