Lake Havasu Unified School District #1

Service, honor, athletics, and Roger Burger

Roger Burger, Lake Havasu High School athletic director and dean of students, has challenged High School coaches and their teams to each come up with a community service project or program they can be involved in. Mr. Burger says, “The community has been very supportive of our athletic programs. They passed our overrides, they buy our athletic calendars, and they use the tax credit program. Their money is going to a good cause, but I wanted a way for us to give back to the community.” He says that the coaches are all busy people, but they have all reacted enthusiastically to the community service idea. “Not one of them said they did not have time.”

Teacher Tara Wyneken and students John and Brett.
Roger Burger, Lake Havasu High School athletic director and dean of students.

The coaches are already submitting their proposals for new service programs or continuation of existing ones.

Tonya Westhoff, cheerleading/spirit line coach, and her athletes will hold a car wash on 9/6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise money for breast cancer research. Copper Canyon Nissan has agreed to host the car wash and provide hot dogs and drinks. Team members will also participate in the September Havasu Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.

Erika Washington, cross country coach, and her athletes will do a lakeshore trash pick-up from Rotary Park to London Bridge on the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend.

Kristopher Garry, football coach, and his senior class athletes will volunteer to read at an elementary school.

Marsha Becker, volleyball coach, will set up a pen pal program between her athletes and volleyball team members at Daytona and Thunderbolt Middle Schools.

Kari Thompson, softball coach, has several things going.

  • Her softball players help with the ASA Havasu girls softball try-outs and opening day.
  • They conduct a middle school softball clinic.
  • They conducted a 10 and under pitching clinic.
  • Several athletes are involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

This is just the start. Other coaches are working on their ideas.

Who is Roger Burger?

Roger Burger did his student teaching at local Oro Grande Elementary school during the 1987-88 school year. His first teaching position was also at Oro Grande. A fellow staff member from back then says, “The kids loved him.” Over the next few years, Mr. Burger moved to Lake Havasu High School where he was a special education teacher and ran the Student Development Center, an on-campus, self-contained classroom for special needs students of high school age. Before he became athletic director, he founded and ran the district's Student Transition Center, a community based program for special needs students ages 18 through 22 who have not met their graduation requirements. Mr. Burger has also worked as a coach, starting as assistant high school volleyball coach in 1990 and ending as head coach of the varsity volleyball team in 2002-03. Mr. Burger coached junior varsity wrestling in 1989-90. He has been High School athletic director since 2003.

We will play as hard as we can, but we are not going to cheat or be discourteous.
–Roger Burger

Mr. Burger introduced the Victory With Honor program to Lake Havasu High School during his first year as athletic director. The Arizona Interscholastic Association, a voluntary association of public and private high schools, encourages but does not require that Arizona high school athletic programs adopt Victory With Honor guidelines which stress development of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship in student athletes. Mr. Burger believes in those values. "We will play as hard as we can," he says, "but we are not going to cheat or be discourteous." Victory With Honor teaching materials say that coaches will, "Teach athletes to discern and deal with ethical and sportsmanship issues by discussing these issues in relation to actual and hypothetical situations occurring or likely to occur in practice or game situations." The program also says athletes should do their share to make their school and community better, and be good neighbors. Doing community service work is an extension of what Victory With Honor teaches.

Teacher Tara Wyneken and students John and Brett.
Roger Burger and Margee Chieffo, dressed as George and Martha Washington, danced their way across the London Bridge to promote the tax credit program. Smaller inset picture shows Roger (as George with sword raised high) being rowed across the London Bridge channel as part of another community event.

You may have seen Mr. Burger around town dressed as George Washington. He and Margee Chieffo, a Starline Elementary teacher who often joins him dressed as Martha Washington, do this to promote the tax credit program. As George and Martha, they have attended various community events, and even staged some events of their own. Their efforts to sell the tax credit program as a tax revolution (this is where George Washington comes in) have helped the program grow each year.

Mr. Burger coordinates with Thunderbolt assistant principal Brad Gardner, Daytona principal Hector Fimbres, Daytona dean of students Enos Bacon, and Daytona parent and staff member Tina Vidovich to make sure district middle school sports programs teach the same basic skills so students can succeed at that level and smoothly transition to high school level sports if they choose. Involved parents and booster groups also play a big part in any successful sports program.

Mr. Burger and the High School athletes are grateful for the support of local businesses. They help in many different ways: cash donations, buying advertising space on athletic calendars, posting information about athletic events on business marquees, etc. Jack in the Box and Anderson Chrysler have each received special recognition in the past for their generous assistance.

You can hear Mr. Burger and other Lake Havasu High School staff members speak about the Lake Havasu High School athletic program each Thursday from 12 noon to 1 on KNTR AM radio 980.

All Lake Havasu High School athletic programs are eligible for tax credit dollars. Mr. Burger can be reached via email or at (928) 854-5349.

More about Victory With Honor