A hearty crowd gathered on the grass in between the parking lots at T.J. Mills Stadium last Wednesday evening for the official opening of the newest monument that honors past Tiger athletes and serves as the aiming point for future champions.
The Tiger Wall of Honor was not an overnight concoction, however, as the process began last fall inside the Sealy ISD Administration Building at a school board meeting. Becky Mills and Billy Norris joined Director of Facilities and Construction Mike Zapalac in seeking approval to begin a process on district ground to honor state champions from the town.
“In November of 2018 the concept was presented to the Sealy ISD school board for construction approval,” explained Zapalac in a press release. “The concept had unanimous support with conditions it was fully funded by private donors and construction was managed by a third party. Clint Bollinger was nominated by Becky Mills and Billy Norris after the meeting and Clint gracefully accepted the challenge and responsibility.”
From there, Bollinger worked with other local business to gather all of the materials, including the individual stone slabs that were pieced together by Adrian Miranda and Apex Stone.
“All these pieces are 400 pounds apiece and they were all custom carved in their shop, this is not stuff you can just go buy at Walmart,” Bollinger said. “It may just look like one concrete wall but it’s all nice stuff.”
Surrounding the wall is fresh mulch, and protecting the front side are two wooden tigers which were hand-painted by Mary Beth Kirk.
The total project cost at the time of the unveiling was calculated at $54,000 ($28,275 in cash and $25,830 in materials and services), all of which came from generous donations, according to Zapalac.
“100% of the project’s funding was raised by Becky Mills, Billy Norris and Clint Bollinger. The result is simply amazing,” Zapalac said. “The monument is a tribute to former, current and future students and staff of Sealy ISD whom go over and beyond in all they do, always driving themselves to greatness and being an example to motivate others.”
Bollinger echoed those closing thoughts in his statements following the ribbon-cutting event.
“I think the thing that means so much to me about this project is the fact that it gives our children something to shoot for,” he said. “In the days where everyone gets a trophy, your name’s not going to land on this wall unless you’re the very best. That takes a lot of effort, takes lots of discipline and it takes lots of training so everybody that has their name on the back of this wall decided in their life to be exceptional in whatever sport and I think it’s incredible to honor them in this way.”
The hot dogs for the first 100 attendees were provided by Bill’s Supermarket and complimentary snow cones were courtesy of Kona Ice to wrap up an evening that ended with 7-on-7 football scrimmages taking place under the lights at T.J. Mills Stadium, signaling the next chapter of athletes to start their pursuit of leaving their imprint on the Tiger Wall of Honor.