The Lite Up the Nite event is set for May 12 and will benefit the SHHS weight room

The images of Ryan Waite, Danielle Harcourt, and Scott Olson are some of the first things you see when you walk into the weight room at St. Helens High School.

Waite ran the 800 meters at Brigham Young University. Harcourt was an outfielder at Western Oregon University. Olson played on the defensive line at Linfield. Their pictures are framed along with several other former Lions as examples of where hard work can take today's Lions.

The 19th annual Lite Up the Nite Auction & Dance is set for 5 to 11 p.m. May 12 at the Fairgrounds Pavilion

The common denominator for each of these collegiate athletes, aside from their SHHS diplomas, is their dedication in the weight room.

Regardless of the sport, the foundation for success at the upper levels of competition is training. That's why Cory Young is working with the St. Helens Sports Boosters Club to upgrade the equipment inside of his weight room.

"You want to get faster. You want to be more explosive as an athlete and that helps everybody," said Young, the head football and track coach at SHHS, where he also teaches PE and fitness classes.

And now, it's time for St. Helens supporters to step up and help upgrade that weight room. That will be one of the main goals of the St. Helens Booster Club's 19th annual Lite Up the Nite Auction & Dance, set for 5 to 11 p.m. May 12 at the Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Tickets are available for $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight. To purchase tickets or donate items, contact Stan Girard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kyle Boggs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The goal of this year's fundraiser is to add four more double-sided half racks. Currently, the weight room houses four racks, purchased by the Booster Club about a decade ago when they spearheaded the efforts to build a new weight room at SHHS.

"The good thing with a squat rack is it's not a perishable item," Young said. "Once you buy them, you have decades and decades to work with them."

In addition to squats, the racks let people perform a variety of other exercises, including bench press, pull-ups, push presses, cleans and more. During workouts, each rack serves as a lifting station for eight people — four on each side. The additional stations will let Young program workouts for up to 64 student-athletes at a time.

While his fitness classes typically have around 40-45 students, the increased capacity will come in handy for early morning workouts and off-season training. The school is introducing a weight training class before school next year. Right now, there are 68 students signed up for it. At different times throughout the year, the weight room will have multiple teams training in it after school as well.

"With a little better set up, it's easy to accommodate two teams going at the same time. You don't have to worry about tripping over each other or anything like that," Young said.

But the upgrade won't come cheap. The price tag for four new racks is $10,000. That's where the Booster Club and the Lite Up the Nite Auction comes in.

"This is something that will benefit our youth regardless of what sport they play, or even if they don't play sports, so we thought it was a great fit for us," said Booster President Stan Girard.

The Boosters financed the construction of the weight room 10 years ago under then-president Rich Bailey. Bailey, who remains active in the club, said the same premise was true then.

"As Boosters, we thought that was a good project because all kids could use it," Bailey said.

In between those two projects, the club has poured more than $50,000 every year into the athletic funds of the St. Helens School District. The Boosters paid for several large-scale projects along the way, such as the new tennis courts, helping reintroduce middle school sports, and most recently, purchasing $10,000 bench covers for the soccer teams. That's in addition to buying a timing system for the swim team, canopies for the cross country team and other items coaches request.

The biggest chunk of change for those purchases comes from the auction each year. In addition to the paddle raise for the weight racks, the event includes silent and live auctions, table themes and decoration contests, dinner and dancing, beer and wine tasting, and a home brew competition.

For more information, visit the Booster Club's Facebook page at

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