An alumnus of Bowness High School wants to help revive the school’s own football team after a nine-year absence.
Bryan Rowlandson launched the Friends of Bowness Trojans Football Foundation. His goal was to raise enough cash to finance the resurrection and maintenance of the team.
In 2013, Robert Thirsk High School opened. This reduced the population at Bowness High School from 1,186 in 2012/2013, to 794 the next year. Because of this decline, it was difficult to continue support of the football program. Bowness students were combined with players from Sir Winston Churchill High School.
In 2016, major renovations of the new wing at Bowness High School were completed. This added significant space and facilities, including a fitness training centre for student athletes. Bowness had 1,148 students in 2020/2021, and the anticipated growth is to more than 1,400 students within a few years.
“I played high school football at Bowness and I had a son who came here and ended up having to play on the amalgamated team,” Rowlandson said.
“I’m happy that he was able to have those experiences, but it made me really reminisce on the feeling of the program prior to 2013. The pride, the excellence, the culture that the football program brought, not only to the school, but the community overall.”
Football a first step in bringing pride back to school
Rowlandson said prior to the amalgamation, Bowness football had a storied history. Football supported the development of players within the school.
“We used to have such pride in our team and in the community. I really wanted to bring that back because it was just something that I could feel was missing,” he said.
Coach and Bowness High School athletic director Corey Allison teamed up with Rowlandson to see this goal through.
“Working together and seeing the pride in the students wearing their jerseys on game days … really makes it worthwhile,” Allison said.
“It just really helps with the spirit of the school. It brings an energy to the school.”
Rowlandson and Allison want to instill in the students of Bowness High School a unique sense of community and pride.
“We want to be out here practicing, making sure that we’re wearing the yellow helmets and the white and green practice jerseys, so (the team) feels like it’s a part of the fabric of Bowness,” Allison said.
Athletics support the future of students
Allison said the football team is part of a bigger picture. While the school is a place of learning and academics, Allison wants to provide students with as much experiences possible.
“We can raise those funds to get us to a point where … ideally, we’d be in a position to help some kids move to the next level of their education and their football career at the same time,” Rowlandson said.
So far, the Friends of Bowness Trojans Football Foundation has raised just less than $50,000 of their $70,000 goal. Allison and Rowlandson plan to create annual initiatives to raise money, such as bottle drives.
The Calgary Stampeders donated $10,000 to cover all uniform costs for the Trojans. This donation will allow the Trojans to return to the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association circuit for the 2022 season.
Rowlandson said the foundation would like to start by fuelling one team. The long-term goal is to expand to include a junior varsity team.
“I was fortunate enough to experience [that uniqueness] and to play football here and win a championship,” said Rowlandson.
“We want to bring that back here.”