Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick displays a plaque presented to him by the Nottingham alumni at this past Saturday’s Homecoming football game. Wes, who was presented with a generous check by the alumni foundation, did not go to Nottingham but is considered an honorary Northstar for his years of contributions to the high school (Contributed photo).
By Bill Berish
Nottingham Class of 1987
Nottingham High School Homecoming 2018! What a special day for Northstar alumni to come together and share their memories from high school.
Prior to this past Saturday, the last NHS Homecoming I attended was 1988, my sophomore year of college, and the faces and faculty around the football field have changed since then. When we wore the Blue and Gold, Glen Sliker was the head coach and was trying to build a competitive program.
Fast forward to 2018 and Coach Jon Adams has built a tenacious, hard-working, blue-collar type football program that won a state title in 2012.
One thing, however, hadn’t changed.
Throughout those 30 years of Nottingham football there has always been one constant on the sidelines — Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick. He was honored Saturday by the Reunion Committee and presented with a check for $800 as a show of appreciation to his dedication to the school and it’s sports programs.
It was great seeing so many alumni honoring Wes. It was also nice seeing my childhood friends again- Warren Lewis, Brian DeAngelo, and Wes’ children, Mike Kirkpatrick and Kris Downey. Dewey Bookholdt could not attend this function as he was out of state with his youngest daughter at her college.
I mention all of this because if it wasn’t for us attending Nottingham, first as a middle school and then staying for the next seven years as it transitioned to a high school, Wes might not have started his legacy so long ago.
When Northstar athletics began during the 1982-83 school year, Wes was there with his camera. He took pictures of us playing soccer, football, basketball, baseball and Kris and the swim team. I still have many of these pictures that I have shared with my kids as they get older. The Mogul’s documenting of our high school days is important and certainly special. I’m sure the thousands of other past graduates from Nottingham are just as appreciative of them as we are.
But the bond that the six of us still have with each other and Nottingham are because of Wes. Over the years he has sent us many emails with pictures of an outstanding athlete, team or student receiving an athletic or academic scholarship. His love and dedication to the school is second to none.
Wes’s personality and overall “good guy” reputation runs deep and one would be hard pressed to find anyone that could say something negative about him (except maybe SEC fans that do not root for Florida).
His love for the Northstars, however, doesn’t stop there. There are, of course, his beloved Gators. He is also a proud grandfather to Ryan, Kiley and Timmy Kirkpatrick; and Tommy Sean and Samantha Downey. We also receive email photographs of them as well and their accomplishments which I’m sure they will appreciate as they get older.
Wes has even attended some of our children’s events with his camera during the years, never hesitating to come if he is available. Regrettably, none of our children have or will attend Nottingham because of geographical reasons.
We all felt honored and privileged to be celebrating this special moment with Wes and the participating alumni of Nottingham High School. He has been like a second father to Warren, Brian, Dewey and I throughout the past 38 years. It was also great to see how appreciative the Northstar football community is to Wes as he is no doubt a special contributor to the program.
A special thank you and acknowledgment must also be given to Leanne Jones Camacho, Sue Urlick Lombardo and the rest of the reunion committee for planning this event.