On Wednesday evening, Dec. 7, the 8th graders who participated in the Wilton Youth Football and Cheer program celebrated the finish of their last season as part of the youth league. They gathered in the Wilton High School Cafeteria for a season-ending banquet to celebrate their accomplishments of not only this season but seasons past.

Organized by the athletes’ parents, the evening was a wonderful way for the 36 players and their families to cap off their time on the gridiron as part of the youth program. The parents who volunteered as coaches spoke at length about working with the players and seeing them work hard and progress. The adults reflected on how 14 of the boys had been playing since the third grade, and that they as well as their teammates who joined in later years all showed dedication and achievement.

Many of these boys will go on to play football next year at Wilton High School. They were encouraged by the three senior captains of the WHS football team, who spoke to the boys about what it means to continue playing. They were joined by WHS varsity coach Bruce Cunningham, who exuberantly echoed the call to keep at the sport.

The members of the eighth-grade cheerleading squad were recognized on Wednesday night as well, and their coaches emotionally told the girls how much they will miss working with them and how proud they were to have watched them work hard and come together as a team.

As it does each year, Wilton Youth Football and Cheer made community and social action a part of the evening, as all players and their families were asked to bring food to donate to Wilton Social Services.