Little Cypress-Mauriceville celebrates decades of commitment from Mike and Gwen Poutra

Published 12:30 am Saturday, February 25, 2023

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LITTLE CYPRESS — Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School celebrated this week the dedication of the Gwen Poutra counselor conference room and the grand opening ceremony of the Mike Poutra Battlin’ Bear Athletic Training Facility.

“We wanted to honor the Mike and Gwen Poutra for their selfless dedication to the district,” said Eric Peevey, athletic director head football coach. “They spent countless years as volunteers as school board members, counselors and booster club president. They did all of this for free just to be of use to their community.”

Gwen Poutra’s dedication plaque reads, “In honor of Gwen Poutra 1977-1991 for your unwavering support and unrelenting guidance to children and education in the Little Cypress Mauriceville School District, presented by the LC-M education Foundation.’”

Amy McIlwain, board member on athletic booster board over concession stands and former president of the Education Foundation, said Gwen and Mike dedicated “decades to the growth of the district.”

Within a year, a culmination of athletic sponsorships, fundraisers and a generous donation by Poutra Family members raised $187,000 for the new training facility.

“The sponsorships brought in 100,000 dollars,” McIlwain said. “The Poutras donated $50,000 for the training facility and $50,000 for the Education Foundation. The new counselor room is where we chose to recognize Gwen as she was a former counselor.”

The training facility is open to all boys and girls sports, excluding basketball.

“We utilized an old gym on campus to transform into the new facility,” Peevey said. “Soccer, softball, baseball, the cheer team and football athletics can make use of the gym. Basketball currently has two gyms for games and practices.”

Peevey began the ceremony by reading a letter from Steven Griffith, former LCM baseball coach and longtime friend of Poutra.

“Poutra family, Bears and guests, sorry the Griffiths could not be here today for this well-deserved event,” Peevey read. “Mr. Mike Poutra is literally The Bear. There are no other resumes out there that equal this. He is a proud LCM graduate. He is a proud LCM Bear former athlete. And he is the proud parent of two great Bear athletes, Darren and Blake. Many over the years have been the things listed above. Here is where he separates from the rest. He was voted school board president by the community and president of that by his peers. He held this position for over a decade. He was a member of the booster club and again voted president by his peers for another decade. While on the school board they constructed the very gym you are standing in today.

“To make this as short as possible I will share with you the two things I will always remember about the support of this school from this man. One, he was generous and as we all now know today, he obviously has passed that virtue down to his children. His business provided T-shirts, hats and other printed items to our different sports and extra circular activities at cost and even at a loss on several occasions. He participated in every fundraiser that every organization threw at him, and his business was on every scoreboard, sign and program that was ever made during those years.

“Two, for literally a quarter of a century he would call me on almost every game day to shoot the breeze about the game plan. I called him “the assistant athletic director” and he was calling to make sure I was not about to screw things up. Mr. Poutra. We love you. We appreciate everything you have done for us. We love your family. We wish you the great retirement life that you and Gwen have earned for yourselves. This gym could not have been named after a more deserving man. Happy to be your friend. God bless your family’s generosity, Coach Griff.’”

Mike Poutra concluded the evening with a heartfelt thank you to a crowd of students, friends and former colleagues. He joined his wife, their family and LCM board members to cut the ribbon on the new training facility.

— Written by Sierra Kondos