Thanks to donations of more than $15,000 in memory of alumnus West Summers, ’11, Heathwood dedicated the newly enhanced J. West Summers IV Cross Country and Track Pavilion at a ceremony on February 27.
With several hundred members of the Heathwood community in attendance, Head of School Chris Hinchey, Upper School Head George Scouten, Cross Country Coach Willis Ware, and former Track Coach Verlon Rhodes all spoke about West’s contributions to Heathwood and to its Cross Country and Track programs, before Heathwood Chaplain Raven Tarpley led the blessing of the facility.
Following West’s death in November, 2015, Heathwood received 94 gifts in his memory. This outpouring of love, in combination with three leadership gifts, allowed the school to significantly enhance the pavilion where Highlander track and cross country athletes gather before practices and events and recover from races and training sessions. In addition to a newly paved floor, the pavilion now has comfortable seating and new boards displaying record-setting performances by Heathwood track and cross country athletes.
Lead gifts by Catherine and Keith Johnson, Frank and Pearl Tourville, and the Highlander Club generously supported the memorial project, as did contributions of time and talent from alumnus and parent Davis Buchanan, ’86, alumnus and past parent David McCoy, ’79, and many members of Heathwood’s grounds, athletics, and advancement staff.
West Summers was a gifted runner whose talent and dedication raised the bar for Heathwood’s track and cross country programs in ways that continue to be felt today. This year’s boys cross country state championship, for example, can be traced back to the culture of hard work and high aspirations that West modeled for his teammates as early as middle school, said Coach Ware: “West’s success and work ethic inspired a younger generation of runners who in turn inspired the students in our current program to achieve at such a high level.”
“West’s time on these fields, trails, and track played a significant role in his development into a young man,” said Chris Hinchey. “So it seemed very appropriate to use the funds donated in his honor to improve this facility.”