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The Thielen Foundation and Choice Bank partnered to bring the Friday night lights experience back to the students of Brooklyn Center High School.

Bringing Friday Night Lights Back to Brooklyn Center High School

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Brooklyn Center High School’s stadium lights went out during a football game in 2018 and were red-tagged for safety concerns, never to turn on again. When the stadium lights were turned off permanently, it had an impact that rippled through the school and into the community.

It halted all student events under the lights including football, lacrosse, soccer, track and field, and more. All activities had to be played during the day. Daytime start times meant parents and students were unable to attend games and the “Friday night lights” feel that was cherished by students was gone.

To bring back that feeling of community to BCHS, The Thielen Foundation and Choice Bank partnered together to install a new lighting system for the Brooklyn Center High School football field. For the first time in three years, the field is illuminated.

“We chose to be involved with Brooklyn Center because we knew that we wanted to bring resources to youth, the kids, really give them opportunities to do what they want to do, do what they love,” said Adam Thielen, The Thielen Foundation Founder and Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver. “If they don’t have those resources, don’t have those opportunities, they might not be committed to it and not committed to school because of that.”

With new stadium lights, student-athletes are once again able to enjoy the complete high school experience and learn valuable life lessons through sports.

“These guys have been without lights for a number of years, so we really thought that this could be impactful,” said John Fritz, Choice Bank Minnesota Market President.

“These guys have been without lights for a number of years, so we really thought that this could be impactful,” said John Fritz, Choice Bank Minnesota Market President.

The stadium lights were replaced as part of The Thielen Foundation’s #ChangeThruSport program. The #ChangeThruSupport program uses athletics as a catalyst for greater academic success. The goal of the program is to incentivize students to complete their sports season, maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher, and learn about healthy lifestyle habits – all of which ultimately will lead to increased confidence, leadership qualities, and success in reaching their full potential. The Thielen Foundation’s program began with upgrading BCHS’s weight room, purchasing $10,000 of team sports equipment, and providing $1,000 scholarships for a varsity athlete on each of the school’s teams.

“It’s not about sports. It’s about the community. It’s about these kids, giving them a purpose, giving them a reason to come out and play sports,” Thielen said.

“It’s not about sports. It’s about the community. It’s about these kids, giving them a purpose, giving them a reason to come out and play sports,” Thielen said. “When they do come out to play a sport and they’re excited about it because they have resources to help them be great. If they have things to be excited about it also translates to their family life, to their school life.”

Now with school spirit and pride in the Brooklyn Center community restored, students can make new memories, pursue new experiences, and seek new learning opportunities through sports.

Choice Bank has been a partner of the Thielen Foundation since 2019. The Thielen Foundation’s mission to inspire and educate the youth in our communities perfectly captures our #PeopleFirst values and commitment to bettering the places we live.