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05/30/2023 12:38 PM

Brajczewski a Passionate Member as Westbrook Athletic Boosters President

Westbrook resident Ken Brajczewski has been a valuable asset to Westbrook athletics and the community as the town’s Athletic Boosters President for the past few years. Photo courtesy of Ken Brajczewski

When Westbrook athletics is in need, the Boosters are there. Westbrook Athletic Boosters President Ken Brajczewski says it is an honor and privilege to provide both the high school and middle school with the resources they need, as it will benefit the hardworking student-athletes in the program.

“It’s not about us, it’s about the kids,” Ken says. “I continue to say that to everybody. We’ve made large strides in the program to have people understand that the Boosters isn’t about adults and parents, it’s about getting together and doing things that are just for the children, the student-athletes of the town.”

Sometimes, what is required of the Boosters does involve them a bit more directly, like the time the high school needed a new public address system for soccer and baseball games.

“When I first came on board, one of the things I saw missing was the ability to announce games, especially soccer,” Ken says. “I think it’s really important for the kids to hear their names announced, when goals are scored and assists, so I did notice, until I took over, that that was not happening. We ended up buying a couple of PA systems and I actually announced the games. So for the past three years, I’ve been the announcer at the boys’ and girls’ soccer games, and I’ve even done some of the baseball games.”

Ken has been president of the Boosters for the previous three years. His time as president will come to a close at the conclusion of this school year, as both his children are graduating. Booster members must have a student in the school system in order to serve in the club, but not everyone goes above and beyond the way that Ken has for Westbrook athletics. He says being in the Boosters has been a rewarding experience for him.

His time in the Boosters began when his children, now seniors, were freshmen. His daughter Allison and son Jonathan (twins) both have played multiple sports for Westbrook, and he wanted to stay involved, supporting them along the way.

“I didn’t join the sports program to drive my kids to get scholarships to college for sports, I did it to make sure they had fun and they stayed active,” Ken says.

Ken attended a meeting for the Boosters when both Allison and Jonathan were freshmen and was intrigued by what the group was doing.

“I just started attending meetings, and a meeting in a small town could be four people, five people, but when I started going I became very interested and when (the former president) announced his leaving in 2020, I jumped in and said I’d love to do it and they voted me in pretty quickly and I started off running,” Ken says. “I quickly created a website which we didn’t have, I quickly created a Facebook so we got on social media and we have a good following on our Facebook and our website.”

Ken and the Boosters have done even more in recent years, providing funding for the program, holding fundraisers with high community attendance and helping to spread the word about Westbrook athletics, even at peoples’ homes in their driveways.

“We put a big ‘W’ logo in your driveway (if residents request it),” Ken says. “We’ve done a lot of stuff like that from the booster side of things.”

Keeping with Ken’s motto of the Booster’s work being solely for the students, they’ve even developed a fun way to allow graduating seniors to take some of the Westbrook gym with them when they complete high school. The Boosters purchased velcro name plates for the scoreboards in the gymnasium, so when seniors leave, they get to take their name off the scoreboard and keep it for good.

“The boards we bought have velcro on them,” Ken says. “So we stick their names on and we can move them around and when you graduate as a senior, I go up and I take down the name and hand it to the senior so they can take it with them.”

The Boosters also pitched in to help fund a windscreen for the school’s track when assistance was requested.

“The windscreen at the track was partially funded by us,” Ken says. “One of the things we do, working with Caitlin Eichler (Westbrook High School’s Athletic Director), who has been an amazing person to work with, is if they need help with something they can ask for help. They needed a little more funding to finish the windscreens and so we provided that extra funding.”

In addition to car washes, selling pizza at basketball games, driveway signs for proud Westbrook residents and maintaining a 24-hour online Knights apparel store, the fundraiser Ken is most proud of is pretty cool, according to the president.

“I formed the Freezin’ for the Season Polar Plunge and we’ve done that for the past two years, we’ve raised a significant amount of money from that and it’s become a huge town thing,” Ken says. “We have 300 people come out to that every year and show their support. We bring in local food vendors, have volunteers and they make that a great success.”

The Boosters have also found success in providing graduating seniors with some much-needed money for college, as they’ve distributed scholarships for scholar athletes each year.

“The Athletic Boosters give away multiple scholarships every year for graduating seniors who are scholar athletes, and recently we’ve done two scholarships. We’re starting this year with four so we’re giving away four,” Ken says. “That is done strictly by the coaches, the Boosters don’t have any say on who gets those. That’s done by the coaches of Westbrook and the school system.”

This level of involvement isn’t new to Ken, as he’s coached tee-ball, baseball and soccer on his children’s teams. He’s even stepped in as a photographer for Westbrook athletics, shooting his kids’ games and some others around the program.

Eichler, who has had the privilege of working with Ken for the last few years, knows he will leave behind a valuable presence and will certainly be missed among Westbrook athletics.

“Ken is stepping down due to his twins graduating this year,” Caitlin says. “He has done so much for athletics and our community.”

Ken has lived in the small town of Westbrook for over 20 years, where he and his wife of 21 years, Renee, have raised four children in the town. He worked for Eversource for 33 years before retiring and becoming Senior Director — ADMS & Business Integration for Gridbright. His wife, Renee, has been a teacher for over 20 years. Ken and Renee’s oldest children are now adults, Michaela, 29, and Zachary, 27. When Allison and Jonathan graduate, Ken’s time as Booster president will be over, and it will be bittersweet for him.

“It’s going to be sad,” Ken says. “I will continue to support (Westbrook), I know I can’t be a registered member because I have to have a kid in the school system, but I can certainly volunteer when needed and I already let the folks on the board and in the group know they can always reach out to me.”