Every Delaware high school with a lighted athletic field will be aglow tonight to honor student-athletes across the state who will not return to their sports this spring.
The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) organized Friday Night Lights, which will involve a coordinated lighting of fields at 8 pm tonight, with lights bathing the athletic stadiums for 20 minutes and 20 seconds – a countdown to the military hour of 20:20.
Tower Hill School, one of the schools with a lighted field, plans to announce the name of each senior — by school and by sport — within the Delaware Independent School Conference (DISC) starting at 8 pm. THS Athletic Director Seth Kushkin will read the names from the press box at DeGroat Field in a show of solidarity with the Class of 2020.
Dickinson also plans to announce the names of their seniors during the 20-minute tribute.
Students in the DISC conference can tune into Tower Hill’s live feed on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/THSDE/.
Many schools will also share their own live pictures on Twitter and Instagram, and the DIAA will also compile and share several pictures and videos on Twitter: @DIAA_Delaware on Twitter and @DelawareInterscholasticAthleticAssociation on Facebook.
Schools can share posts on social media using the hashtags #BeALight #DIAATogether #MyReasonWhy.
Some of the participating schools with lights include Brandywine High School, McKean, Newark High School, Glasgow, Caravel, St. George’s Tech, Dover, Cape Henlopen, Appoquinimink, Middletown and Tower Hill.
Schools without spectator lighting may turn on their scoreboard lights with the numbers “2020” dazzling throughout. Other facilities including Delaware Turf will also participate.
However, the schools emphasize this is not an event for athletes or fans to attend in person. You are invited to tune in virtually.
In addition to the DISC effort at Tower Hill, Tatnall School will have its own activity to recognize its middle and upper School athletes tonight.
Athletic Director Patrick Jones and Social Media Coordinator Brandon Bolinski placed 20 minutes and 20 seconds on Tatnall’s Weymouth Field Scoreboard last night. They recorded the scoreboard clock as it counted down to zero. Using that footage, Bolinski is creating a video featuring students answering the question, “Why do you play athletics?” as part of the DIAA #MyReasonWhy campaign.
The video will be released later tonight to the Tatnall community at the end of the DIAA ceremony.
Last year 28,000 students in Delaware participated in DIAA sports, including children from 62 high schools and 48 middle schools.
DIAA Executive Director Donna Polk says she hopes tonight’s effort brings some small measure of hope to the many student-athletes who would have enjoyed sports this season — many who have worked for years on developing their talents only to see dreams dashed amid the COVID pandemic.
“It’s been devastating for most of our student-athletes. It’s a terrible, unprecedented situation that we’re facing. Our Board members wanted to make sure we were providing some kind of recognition that we are thinking of them and are so proud of everything they’ve done throughout their careers on the field and to support their resilience through this crisis,” she said.