Piner soccer players honor faculty spouses

Posted by Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit: In what has been a turnaround season, the Piner High School boys’ soccer team also is providing an emotional lift for a pair of teachers who lost spouses during the young school year.
Wearing black armbands, the Prospectors are honoring Bert Stevens, late husband of Sharon Stevens, and Beverly Ann Gregg, who was Michael Gregg’s wife.
“I think it’s quite an honor,” said Gregg, who teaches physical education at Piner.
Both Gregg and Stevens, back on campus to resume teaching, said the soccer team’s gesture adds to support from students and faculty, helping ease their pain.
“It really touches me that they care about you. They care about what you’re going through,” said Stevens who teaches economics and world history.
Prospectors’ players hopefully gain a broader perspective in their young lives, that there is more to life than the outcome of a soccer game, said Piner head coach Matt Dold.
“It just really opened the boys’ eyes. It helps them just come out and have fun and leave it all on the field,” Dold said.
The soccer teams move helps strengthen the Piner family, Gregg said.
“I think it’s a fantastic thing that the kids are doing. It shows that the school is not just a school, it’s a family. I’m real proud of them,” he said.
Dold told the faculty members about the team’s decision to wear the black armbands before the recent home game against Santa Rosa High School.
“I choked up,” Gregg said.
“It was an emotional day for me,” Stevens said.
With 11 varsity and junior varsity soccer players in her classes, Stevens already had a strong bond with the program. Both Stevens and her husband attended Piner soccer games, as well as other Piner sports events.
The school also has started a memorial scholarship fund to honor Bert Stevens by providing college funds to immigrant students. A native of the Netherlands, Bert Stevens moved with his family to the United States as a young boy.
“The whole school and especially the students have really made it easier to cope with this sudden loss,” Stevens said.