The running joke at Canterbury is a new person will carry the hefty School Spirit Award trophy each year to the school.
Headmaster Tony Paulus carried it in 2011, athletic director Marc Taglieri had the duty last year and football coach Mike Marciano handled the trophy this year — Canterbury’s third consecutive School Spirit Award at the All-Area Stars Banquet Wednesday at JetBlue Park.
“The first two years, we thought we would do it. But this year we weren’t as confident,” Paulus said. “We were a little surprised but really excited.”
Canterbury, East Lee County and Southwest Florida Christian were the three finalists for the award after nine days of voting. Each school posted a one-minute video to kick off a second round of voting for eight days. Canterbury was the winner with 1,817 total votes cast between the three schools.
“I think it’s teamwork for us,” Paulus said. “School spirit is really important to us at Canterbury. Our athletic director is building a strong program and our football coach will be heading 11-man football next fall.
“When I hired Taglieri two years ago, I told him in seven years I wanted our program to be the best in our division. I’ve done it twice in two other states, twice in California and twice in Michigan, so I know it can be done.”
Paulus said he next would like to have an athlete win Player of the Year in The News-Press All-Area Banquet. Canterbury has had past athletes of the year, including four-time golfer of the year Michelle Shin.
Can the Cougars win four in a row?
“I think we have a good shot next year,” Paulus said. “We would like to be challenged and I really thought somebody would take it from us.”