By Jarrett Guthrie
TAMPA – For decades, city of Tampa high school students living north of Hillsborough Avenue called Chamberlain High home and the school flourished for years. As the county grew and new schools popped up, the school has experienced many what inner-city schools across the country have: diminishing test scores, fluctuating attendance and growth of new development stretching to other parts of communities.
However, a group of alumni led by chairman Terry Sisco, knew there was a community base that valued their tradition and pride in the school dating back to its opening in 1956 and thus the Chamberlain Legacy Alliance was born.
In just three years, the group has grown from a handful of volunteers, to a Facebook group of nearly 2,400 people and former Chiefs graduates have worked to make sure the school’s current students – especially student athletes – leave their high school career with a leg up and pride in their alma mater.
“The best thing we try to do is get alumni on campus, get them there interacting with these kids, they realize how far a little support can go in these student’s lives,” Alliance communications director Nancy Leach said. “Every kid is deserving, and we as alumni want them to have that pride in their school that all of us have in Chamberlain to this day.”
According to Leach, a 1980 CHS alum, the Chamberlain Legacy Alliance has found huge support from its members, along with local businesses as the charity has worked to provide its students with financial support in many ways.
One of those supporters, 1958 grad and former Chiefs baseball player Dennis Aust, who pitched for two seasons in the Major Leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals will return home tomorrow night to toss out the ceremonial first pitch, prior to the Chamberlain baseball team hosting its second-annual alumni night Thursday, April 1, where the Chiefs will take on Leto at 7 p.m.
Albert Vega, an assistant coach for the Chiefs baseball team and father of team captain Adrian Vega, said that the organization has given a sense of pride to the athletes across all sports at Chamberlain.
“Terry (Sisco) and the Legacy Alliance have worked so hard to support our programs here at Chamberlain,” Vega said. “As a parent, with a senior, seeing that these kids are being taken care of and have the fundamental tools is something I’m very thankful for.
“It’s the simple things that can make the biggest difference.”
Leach said though the organization has a significant focus on athletics, it is there to provide help to any student on campus and she hopes growing support will further those endeavors.
“We’ve setup a learning lab with the help of the church next door where these students have access to computers and the internet, with mentors there,” Leach said, “the school has been so supportive, and though our coaches push their kids there it is open to any of our kids.”
For more information on the Chamberlain Legacy Alliance, and how you can support their efforts please visit www.chamberlainlegacy.com.
Joey Jensen, Seffner Christian (Staff Pick POTW)– Against Bradenton Christian last week, the senior lefty and Daytona State signee tossed a complete-game no-hitter, walking just one and finishing with 12 strikeouts.
Ryan Arroyo, Hillsborough – The Terriers freshman went 6-for-9 at the plate in three wins last week, scoring six times and driving in a run.
Tyler Corish, Jesuit – In two games last week, the Tigers senior went 5-for-5, with a double, four runs scored and two-RBI – including the game-winner against Sickles last week.
James Hankerson, Berkeley Prep – Hankerson went 3-for-5, with a home run, a double, three RBI and two runs, drove in the winning run against Calvary Christian.
Jaylin Tose’, Lennard – The Longhorns senior was 6-for-7 last week with four doubles, a homer four RBI and scored three times as Lennard topped Sumner and East Bay.
Around the horn: As featured last week, Alonso’s Zen Hiatt has stretched his hit streak to 16 to start the season and is still sitting at .500, with six doubles and four homers … Durant senior and USF signee Sean Hermann is leading the state with 77 strikeouts, while Wharton junior Ryan Fry is listed sixth in Florida with 59 punch outs … Jesuit senior BJ Graham has upped his county lead in RBI to 19, just one ahead of Hillsborough’s Brady Burgess, Tigers teammate Jake Kulikowski, and Strawberry Crest’s Arjun Nimmala – each with 18 … Bell Creek senior Dante Portillo (8th in Florida) is leading the county with 24 runs scored and is also hitting .515 on the year, while Wharton’s Dylan McDonald has scored 22 runs and driven in another 17 … Armwood junior Justin Corns is leading the county with a .556 average … Leto junior Kevin Rivera made the most of his call-up from the JV squad last Friday, recording two hits and scoring a run in the Falcons come-from-behind district win at Strawberry Crest in his first varsity appearance.
Falcons skipper JJ Pizzio turned looked to history for an analogy to sum up Rivera’s moment, saying the junior has worked hard for the program at the junior varsity level to get to this point.
“Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I will prepare and someday my chance will come,’” Pizzio said. “You have to take advantage of the chances you are given and he did that.
“He’s going to be my starting centerfielder next year, because he can catch fly balls. It’s been a bit of a revolving door out there, and it looks like he’s shut it.”