LIVE OAK — The ag farms for Suwannee High and Branford High as well as Buccaneer Stadium now have new names
The Suwannee County School Board unanimously — board member Ron White was absent — approved renaming the facilities at its July 23 meeting. The Suwannee FFA ag farm/land lab is now the Suwannee High School Don Boyette Land Lab, while the Branford farm is now the Branford High School Willie Veal Land Lab.
Buccaneer Stadium at Branford was renamed Buccaneer Stadium at Cleve Sikes Field.
Boyette, a former Live Oak city councilman that passed away in May, was a tireless advocate for the FFA and volunteered his efforts constantly at the ag farm, securing donations and helping to turn the land lab into a source of pride for the FFA.
Veal worked for the Suwannee County School District from 1974-2002 and has been involved in agriculture for close to 60 years. He is a Branford FFA alumni member and received a Florida FFA State Honorary degree in 2012.
Sikes guided Branford’s football program from 1972-1981 and had an overall mark of 75-27-2 with the Bucs. During his tenure, Branford played for a state championship in 1974.
The Bucs won 38 straight regular season games from 1974-1977 and Branford went 55 straight regular season games without a loss from 1971-77.
That regular season winning streak, at the time, was the second longest in the state to a 40-game stretch by Euclid (DeLand) from 1941-45, according to Buddy Collings’ www.floridapreprecords.com. Branford’s streak is tied for eighth-longest in the state with Pasco (2009-12) and St. Thomas Aquinas (2007-11). Lakeland holds the state mark with 60 straight regular season wins from 1995-2001.
“You look at the names here, these three people and look at what those folks have contributed to Suwannee District Schools through the years and their service to this community,” board member Jerry Taylor said. “It’s just too many to name.
“I think it’s a very fitting gesture.
“This is another one of those things, to me, that makes me proud to be part of this community. We honor those people who have invested their lives in kids and helping make good citizens.”
Board member Tim Alcon asked what the plan was for signage with the new names.
Superintendent Ted Roush said he envisioned using the new signage as a way to involve welding classes at the two high schools, making the signs out of steel.
“They have the equipment and the supplies to turn this into a, what I think, very worthwhile class project,” he said. “To do some plasma cutting and make an entry way over all three of those facilities.”
Alcorn said if the plan was steel he would prefer looking into powder coating the signs to help with less maintenance down the road.