The Ravens Athletic Club (RAC) honored four longtime athletics volunteers — Willa Burgess, Dr. E. Brooks Wilkins and Darlene Wilkins, and Dr. Michael Fajgenbaum — with the RAC Service Award on Friday, Jan. 26, which was also Ravenscroft's Winter Fan Night.
The RAC Service Award is a lifetime service award that honors individuals for their commitment to Ravenscroft athletics. The event took place at halftime during the boys varsity basketball game against Durham Academy. Head of School Doreen Kelly, Athletic Director Ned Gonet, and RAC representatives Cathleen Pete-Peay and Diane Alridge presented the awards.
Willa Burgess was recognized for her outstanding dedication to Ravenscroft athletics and the community as a whole. She has tirelessly supported "all things athletic" at Ravenscroft since her sons attended the school and continues to do so today.
Burgess served as chair of the annual Ravenscroft Soccer Invitational, was the primary team parent for both varsity soccer and varsity lacrosse, and served as RAC's co-secretary, facilitating the weekly athletics calendar to the school's communications office for several years. She has also coordinated alumni games for varsity soccer and lacrosse. Fellow RAC volunteer Beth Atkeson said of Burgess, "Whenever there was something that needed an army of volunteers to complete, such as hosting the state basketball tournament in 2016, working gate and concessions, helping to decorate for Homecoming or anything else involving athletics — even if her children did not play the sport — Willa was always there."
Dr. E. Brooks Wilkins and Darlene Wilkins were honored for their commitment to Ravenscroft's wrestling and football programs in the '90s, before Ravens Athletic Club was formed. Throughout the time their four children were at Ravenscroft, they were heavily involved team parents, hosted team dinners and pitched in whatever way was needed. They were fixtures at every game through their kids' graduation in the mid-'90s.
Michelle Piette ("Coach P"), former Ravenscroft assistant athletic director and head athletic trainer, said of the Wilkinses, "I was blessed as an athletic trainer to have the love, support and expertise of these two wonderful people throughout my Ravenscroft career." Ravenscroft student-athlete Antwan Harris '96, who went on to win two Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots, said they were "like second parents" to him, adding, "I never had to worry because both were always available to drive me to practice, provide meals for not only myself but the entire football and wrestling team at every game. They are amazing people who opened their home up to anyone."
Dr. Michael Fajgenbaum was honored for his tireless service and the care delivered to the Ravenscroft student-athletes and their families. Fajgenbaum, an orthopedic surgeon, spent countless hours on the sidelines at a variety of sporting events providing compassionate, kind and exceptional medical care as needed.
Even after his children graduated from Ravenscroft he remained involved, allowing students to intern or shadow him at his practice and providing care for Ravenscroft alumni as they continued their collegiate careers. Athletic Director Ned Gonet said, "We are very fortunate to have the commitment and expertise of Dr. Michael Fajgenbaum to serve our community and student athletes. I am not only very appreciative for his dedication, but also for his continued interest in our school community and our important friendship."
Please join us in congratulating these recipients of the 2018 RAC Service Award!
Pictured below (left to right): Diane Alridge, Willa Burgess, Doreen Kelly, Michael Fajgenbaum, Ned Gonet, Cathleen Pete-Peay, Brooks Wilkins and Darlene Wilkins