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Boosters bolster sports at Catholic high school

David Buerger and his wife, Amy, slowly made their way along a long table that showcased a culinary spread of local restaurants’ best fare recently.

The couple carefully decided whether they would sample the penne rosa or Spicy Thai. Maybe they would settle for simple macaroni and cheese and a glass of cabernet sauvignon.

The table and the rest of the food and spirits were part of the Taste of St. Henry, an annual event at St. Henry District High School in Erlanger.

The fledgling Taste of St. Henry has captured a group of followers and is gaining momentum. Nearly 200 people came to this year’s event, raising nearly $2,000 for the boosters, which help the small school’s sports program.

Buerger, a St. Henry High School alumni, joined other alumni, family, friends, and a group of 20 people from nearby St. Timothy Catholic Church, who call themselves the St. Timothy Culinary Aficionados because they go to dinner every Saturday evening after Mass.

“There is such a variety and everything is so delicious,” said Sue Helmer, who sat at the table with the Aficionados. “This is a great way to sample food from different restaurants.”

“Try this dessert,” announced Dr. Paul Tagher, a Florence pediatrician, holding up a cup of fruit and yogurt from First Watch. “There is some good food up there.”

The St. Henry Boosters have had success in a time in which Catholic schools find it difficult to raise necessary funds for its sports programs.

“In the past few years, the boosters have raised over $250,000 that has helped play a major part in resurfacing the school’s track with a rubberized surface, installing an irrigation system on the new practice field, upgrading concession equipment, building a new press box for the soccer and track fields and initiating a maintenance fund for future campus athletic expenses,” said booster president Mike Esselman.

St. Henry has some of the nicest natural surface fields in the area, Esselman believes. Raising funds to maintain these facilities is the primary mission of the boosters.

“Expenses like these and other athletic-related expenses are not covered by student tuition,” Esselman said. “The boosters also provide grants, scholarships and return funds to the sports teams that participate in events to help offset season expenses.”

In addition to The Taste, the boosters also participate in the school’s Renaissance Night and host an “over-the-top” Golfathon, in which 32 golfers play 100 holes of golf in one day.

“This is a great way to get together with friends,” Carl Gillmann said at The Taste.

“I have had a lot of people come by and sample our taco macaroni and cheese,” said Megan Bennett, general manager of the Laughing Noodle located on Houston Road.

“I think we will get some business from this,” said Liz Camp, who represented Noodles and Company, also located on Houston Road. “There is certainly a variety here.”

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