When Amanda Matos came to CDS as an athletic trainer five years ago, she saw a school brimming with scholar-athletes waiting to be celebrated. What she didn’t see, however, were athletic facilities that championed the hard work her students put into their school and into their sport. Both Amanda and Tauni Butterfield, as Assistant Athletic Director and Athletic Director, respectively, have been working tirelessly to bring a renewed sense of school spirit to Carolina Day.
“We’re really trying to work on building school spirit this year,” said Tauni Butterfield, thinking back on quarantines and Zoom classrooms. “We really want to bring fun back to sports, especially after the pandemic.”
Both Butterfield and Matos feel passionate about student athletes seeing themselves and their accomplishments reflected in the athletic facilities’ design. This doesn’t just mean hanging up banners in the Nash Athletic Complex and on Sgro field to remind students that CDS is “Home of the Wildcats.” It also means updating the athletic murals to depict students who are playing for CDS teams now. It means displaying the names of individual athletes who have made all state sports teams in the gymnasium. It means allowing athletes to wear their uniforms to school on home game days. And it means creating a Cats in College wall, where alumni can return and see themselves represented as important and integral to the CDS community, that their accomplishments, both academic and athletic, are still being celebrated long after graduation.
“We should feel proud that our colors are red and blue,” Matos said. “We should feel proud that our mascot is a wildcat.”
But these school spirit improvements aren’t just cosmetic. Part of what Matos and Butterfield want to offer to their athletes are more up-to-date facilities to meet the needs of a growing athletics program. The weight room has been completely transformed from a small room with two treadmills to one with treadmills, rowers, weights, and stationary bikes. Sgro Field has also been updated, fitted with new turf, gravel, lights, and banners. And these improvements are not likely to stop anytime soon with Butterfield and Matos at the helm. Both women see these much needed changes as one of the best ways to help CDS students shine.