Students honor late athletic director with memorial softball game

FORT KENT, Maine — Fun was the name of the game  Wednesday and was more important than the score during a softball fundraiser for the Eric Werntgen Memorial Scholarship at Fort Kent Community High School. 

Werntgen, a respected teacher, coach and athletic director for Valley Rivers Middle School and Fort Kent Community High School died in January when he was 46-years-old. 

Past and current high school boys baseball players and girls softball players competed against one another in the event which raised $300 for the scholarship named in memory of Werntgen. 

The players often switched up positions to try something new during the game. One young man, Alex Polk, earned his first ever home run, and crossed home plate to the cheers and hugs of his fellow teammates. 

This sort of free spirited play and camaraderie among students is exactly what Werntgen was about according to those who knew him.

“He would have loved seeing them out there having fun doing something they enjoy,” said Community High School educator and assistant softball coach Kendra Raymond. 

Softball players Darci Pelletier and Allee Morgan, both upcoming senior softball players at the school, organized the event. Pelletier said Werntgen was a good-natured man who would have enjoyed the lighthearted, fast and loose play of the game between the two teams. 

“He would have been right by each of our dugouts cheering us on, making us laugh and making it a fun game,” Pelletier said. “He would have been by our sides the whole time.”

Morgan said Werntgen was supportive of all students, as both a gym teacher and athletic director, and did not miss an SAD 27 sporting event. 

“He was always at every single one of our games cheering us on and making sure we had everything we needed,” Morgan said. “We wanted to do this to show that he’s not forgotten to give back to him. He was always there for us and now was our chance to be there for him.”

The Eric Werntgen Memorial Scholarship benefits one outstanding Community High School male and female senior each year who also demonstrates academic excellence. The first recipients of the memorial scholarship were 2021 Fort Kent Community High School graduates Sam Albert and Lacy Pelletier. 

“The whole thing, I think, highlights Eric’s giving nature. He has always been that personality that just gave and gave and gave,” said Fort Kent Community High School principal John Kaleta. “It’s so nice that he can continue to give even after he passed. It’s nice to perpetuate his gift of giving into the future.”

FORT KENT, Maine — June 23, 2021 — Fort Kent Community High School athlete Alex Polk crossed home plate following a massive home run hit during a softball fundraiser in support of the Eric Werntgen Memorial Scholarship on Wednesday. (Jessica Potila | SJVT)

A memorial scholarship has been created at SAD 27 for former athletic director and teacher Eric Werntgen.

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