30th annual Rotary All-Star Classic set for Dec. 5

A Lee County high school football tradition is celebrating its 30th year. The Rotary South All-Star Classic will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Fort Myers High School, with an awards banquet set for Monday, Dec. 3 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Both begin at 7 p.m.

The event was the first countywide high school football all-star game in Florida when it was founded in 1989. John Carrigan, a Sanibel resident, teacher and referee, wanted to provide a showcase for talented players who weren’t getting their due. Since then, it’s grown into a hotbed of top-level prospects, and nearly two dozen players who’ve taken part in the game have gone on to NFL careers.

The game features the best seniors from Lee County public and private high schools, as chosen by their head coaches. Cheerleaders from each school are also selected to participate. The contest pits a North team against a South team, and each player and cheerleader gets a customized commemorative ring or charm.

About 300 players, coaches, families, Rotarians and community leaders are expected to attend the banquet, where players and cheerleaders from the first 29 All-Star Classics will receive special recognition. The banquet will again feature a keynote address from a football luminary, with such names as Bobby Bowden, Howard Schnellenberger, Jim Tressel and Will Muschamp among those who have graced the dais in the past.

The Rotary Club is seeking donations and sponsors to help cover the cost of the event. Businesses and individuals can sponsor the event, a team, player or cheerleader. Advertising opportunities in the event program are also available. Please email Kerri Goldsmith at kagoldsmith@gmail.com for more information.