Patapsco High honors Betty Edwards with name of new stadium
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 13:56

All three local high schools now have stadiums

by Bill Gates

    A cold rain fell Friday afternoon as Patapsco High officially opened and christened its new stadium.
    “I knew we should have held out for the dome,” said former Patapsco principal Ryan Imbriale.
    The grey skies and the rain couldn’t put a damper on the celebration as the Patriots finally had a home field to call their own.
    And the home field has a name: Betty Brown Edwards Field.
    “I am humbled by this amazing honor,” Edwards told the crowd that braved the elements and the players waiting to take the field in their season openers. “I can’t find the words, it’s so wonderful.”
    Edwards was one of the original faculty members at Patapsco High when it opened in 1963. She retired at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
    During her time at Patapso, Edwards also coached field hockey and softball.
    “I’ve been blessed in so many ways,” Edwards said. “With family and friends, and with an amazing career and wonderful memories.”
    Edwards said she was watching the Winter Olympics when she got the phone call — directly from the school board meeting — that the stadium was going to bear her name.
    “My response was, I felt like I had just won a gold medal,” Edwards said.
    Baltimore County policy states that stadiums can not be named after someone who is still alive. So, not wanting to wait, an exception had to be made.
  

County Councilman John Olszewski Sr. worked with school board president Larry Schmidt to change the policy.
    “[Schmidt] also felt it was important to honor someone who taught for 50 years at the same school and who deserved to have the field named after her,” Olszewski Sr. said.
    Plans for a Patapsco High stadium date back to the 1990s with previous athletic directors Sandy Hoody and Lori Powers.
    In 2011, a committee including teacher and coach Paul Latanishen (Patapsco Class of 2000), assistant principal (now principal) Craig Reed, Athletic Booster Club president Paul Goins, athletic director Chris McGuinness and Imbriale met to discuss building a stadium with restrooms and a concession stand on school grounds in time for Patapsco’s 50th anniversary.
    Councilman Olszewski  and Del. John Olszewski Jr. worked with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to get the funding for the stadium.
    The Board of Education approved the plan in 2013.
    “We worked very hard to get funding for this,” the councilman said. “It’s fitting it happened during the 50-year anniversary of the school.
    “This is part of my legacy of serving 16 years as a county councilman. I’ve helped put athletic stadiums at all three of our high schools.”
    The elder Olszewski will not be running for re-election later this year.
    Sparrows Point opened First Mariner Field in the mid-2000s. Dundalk High’s new stadium is currently under construction.
    In addition to the 600-seat grandstand with a press box, a new scoreboard bearing the name Betty Brown Edwards Field and controlled access, the facility includes a flag court with picnic tables, an enclosed concession stand, restrooms and water fountains.
    “People from the community who don’t even have kids in school will attend events here,” Councilman Olszewski said. “Kids will want to play in this stadium, so they’ll keep their grades up to be eligible. It’s a win-win.”
    The opening ceremony was followed by girls and boys lacrosse games against Lansdowne.
    By then, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.

Former Patapsco athletic director Lori Powers, a health teacher at the school, introduces Betty Brown Edwards during the ceremony for naming Patapsco’s new stadium after Edwards.
photos by Bill Gates

 

Betty Brown Edwards, who was part of the original Patapsco High faculty when it opened in 1963 and taught at the school for 50 years, thanks the school for naming its new stadium after her.

 

Grey skies and a cold rain could not detract from the opening of Patapsco High’s new stadium on Friday.

 

The weather for the first athletic contest in Betty Brown Edwards Field was much improved from the opening ceremonies.