BY ANDREAS BUTLER
There may not be any HBCU football this fall, but the Bethune-Cookman University Volusia County Alumni Chapter – also known as the “Mother Chapter” – is giving Wildcat Nation a reason to cheer. Well, actually nine reasons.
The chapter is showing screenings of the Wildcats’ nine-game winning streak over rival Florida A&M University in the Florida Blue Florida Classic. The Wildcats have been victorious over the Rattlers in the series from 2011-2019.
The screenings kicked off on Oct. 10 with B-CU’s 2011 Florida Classic win in Orlando over FAMU. The screenings are aired at the B-CU Alumni Center located at 558 Oak St. The center will host all the screenings.
It is billed as a fun-filled event for alumni, fans, supporters, and the public. It also provides a much-needed football and marching band fix.
“People are missing football season. We are trying to keep the nostalgia of football going and to show support to our team. We want them to know that we are thinking of them and missing them,’’ said Carmen Williamson, president of the local alumni chapter.
“We are also creating a sense of fellowship and commitment to the university during the absence of the season.
Halftime show too
The first screenings went well. The Cub Cats, a youth cheer program associated with the university, was on hand. Ken Moore, the Marching Wildcats band announcer, was the narrator and facilitator.
“It was a pretty good turnout, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. We do social distancing and practice safety measures,” Williamson said.
The football games are screened outside on a jumbo screen and there are no commercials. As during the actual Classic games, the screenings feature the band in action.
“You really get the feel of it. You are right there watching and hearing the band live,” Williamson related.
The event costs $10 each with packets available for $50. Alumni are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and three friends or supporters to the screenings.
Refreshments and Wildcats vending are available as well as masks, shields, bracelets and more.
The event is sponsored by several businesses and alumni, including Patricia Heard, Alfred Wood, The Ross family, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Crab Stop II, Artistic Florists, and Kiki’s Kitchen & Catering.
“We appreciate all of our sponsors. We thank them for their support and help,” noted Williamson.
Additional funding for the event is also being sought. There are Gold ($200) and Maroon ($100) sponsorship packages available.
All proceeds go toward the Alumni Association and scholarships for students at B-CU.
“Everything we do goes back to the university in the form of scholarships supporting students. It’s very important that we do this. The coronavirus pandemic shows it even more,” Williamson explained.
“We encourage those who can’t come out to donate to our levels of giving. Every little bit helps students at Bethune-Cookman University. We recently gave scholarships to two students and are looking at doing more.”
Oct. 24 screening
The next screening will be on Oct. 24 at the B-CU Alumni Center beginning at 7 p.m. It will feature B-CU’s 2012 Florida Classic win, which is the second victory of nine in the series.
The rest of the series will play out over the next few months until the 2019 game.
“We will do them every other week, which is feasible. Of, course weather permitting,” Williamson added.
For more information or to catch a screening, contact Kathy Reeves at 386-852-2753.