Service aspect still alive and well for Les Schwab Bowl players
It's been a long time since Oregon's biggest high school football all-star contest was known as The Shrine Game.
Indeed, after 50 years as The Shrine Game, the contest was re-christened as — in order — City vs. State, State vs. Metro, the Oregon Bowl, and currently, the Les Schwab Bowl.
Through each of these iterations, however, the commitment to service that was part of the very first Shrine Game has remained a constant.
For the longest time, Oregon's top football players would spend part of their all-star week visiting Oregon Shriners Children's Hospital. While that has changed, the focus on service and helping young people has not — this year's North and South teams took time out from their busy week to visit with the youngsters at St. Mary's Home for Boys in Beaverton.
That visit, as much as the game itself — a 33-28 win by the South at Hillsboro Stadium on Saturday, June 15 — was one of the highlights for players from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge. Four graduated Lake Oswego seniors — Keenan DeRaeve, Mike Mercep, Jackson Laurent and Gabe DeVille — and Lakeridge's Javier John were selected as members of the North team.
"Probably the best part of the week was going to the St Mary's Home for Boys," said Lake Oswego quarterback Jackson Laurent. "It was a really humbling experience to see them and work with them and eat lunch with them."
"Probably my favorite part was going to the boys home with all my teammates because it was really humbling for all of us, being able to see what they were going through and how lucky we were to be there," said LO linebacker Gabe DeVille.
Founded in 1889 as an orphanage for abandoned and wayward children, St. Mary's now offers residential treatment and services to at-risk boys between the ages of 10 and 17 who are emotionally disturbed and behaviorally delinquent. The individualized program provides each client with a structured regimen to ensure a successful transition to public school, the community and appropriate living environment. Adolescent boys of all ethnic heritages and religious backgrounds are accepted.
For Lake Oswego and Lakeridge's best football players — all of them looking forward to the start of their college careers in the fall — the opportunity to help boys going through difficult periods in their lives meant a lot.
"The fact that we were all there together really brought us closer together," DeVille said. "That was just an awesome experience."
"It was cool to talk with them and a really humbling experience," Laurent added. "We get to be playing football and they are there so it was really cool to meet all of them and play with them and run routes with them
"Helping kids, taking three hours out of our day to help some kid and making a huge impact on them, was super cool and very humbling for every single person."
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