JAY — Once again, auction of sports banners from the former Jay and Livermore Falls high schools has been put on hold, this time indefinitely.

Updated sports banners from the former Jay and Livermore Falls high schools are displayed in the Spruce Mountain High School gym in Jay. The green banners represent the Andies sports teams of Livermore Falls and the orange ones from the Tigers sports teams of Jay. An online auction of the former schools’ original banners that was to be held Feb. 5-10, has been canceled indefinitely, according to Spruce Mountain High School Principal Thomas “TJ” Plourde in a post Wednesday on the Spruce Mountain High School “Home of the Phoenix” Facebook page. Submitted photo

The banners are from the schools before the Jay School District and Maine School Administrative District 36 formed Regional School Unit 73 and Spruce Mountain schools. Recently Spruce Mountain High School had new banners made that are unified and include information found on the original banners.

Gate receipts were used to pay for the new banners and auction proceeds would help cover those funds, with any remaining moneys going to establish an account for a future Hall of Fame that would include all three schools, principal TJ Plourde told directors at their meeting Thursday, Jan. 25. He also posted information about the auction on the Spruce Mountain High School “Home of the Phoenix” Facebook page  that day.

“The auction of the banners has been canceled indefinitely,” a new post from Plourde noted Wednesday morning, Jan. 31. “The collective voice of many in this community has been heard. The intention was never for community members to feel that the sports history of these towns was devalued.”

Plourde’s post continued, “Many great ideas have been suggested most recently and we will remain transparent with the future of these banners. If you have an idea to share, please call the high school directly.”

Commenting was turned off on the post.


Many community members and alumni had commented on Plourde’s Jan. 25 post which indicated the auction would run from Feb 5-10 with bidding open two days each for fall, winter and spring sports. If the high bidder could not prove a direct connection to that banner [a team member, coach or relative], the bid would not be accepted and the banner would go to the second highest bidder, etc., he noted.

Several questioned why the banners weren’t being donated to local historical societies. Most felt they should be displayed somewhere locally, such as the Area Youth Sports building [formerly Livermore Falls High School]. Fundraising efforts such as establishing a Go Fund Me or account at OTIS Federal Credit Union were suggested. By Tuesday, Jan. 30, there were more than enough people volunteering to donate $100 or $200 to cover the $2,300 estimated to have been spent on new banners.

Bradie Castonguay, manager for Spruce Mountain Ski Area posted Tuesday on the You Know You’re From Livermore Falls/Livermore/Jay When…Facebook page, “I’m the mountain manager for Spruce Mountain ski slope. This morning I lobbied the school to donate the ski banners to the ski slope we all practiced on so we could have them properly framed and hung for everyone to enjoy. I was told no.

“Additionally, where we are a ski slope we cannot bid on the banners themselves. I’m heartbroken that I couldn’t get these for the history of our little hill. If you are a ski team member and want to help us get these for the hill please reach out! I’m not giving up yet.”

In an email to the Livermore Falls Advertiser Jan. 31 Michele Coates, a director for the ski slope confirmed Castonguay spoke with Plourde Tuesday.

“At that point he told her that they were going forward with the auction and that the mountain could not bid on them collectively, it had to be individual skiers,” Coates wrote. “We then started a campaign to try to get past skiers organized to auction for the years that they skied and donate their banner to the mountain. We were getting responses from all over the United States.”


Coates shared the following email she sent Tuesday to RSU 73 Superintendent Scott Albert and the directors:

“Hi Scott [and school board]. I am writing with a special request that the Spruce Mountain banners that were hanging in the gym, that will be put up for bid next week, be donated to the mountain where we would like to proudly display them for all of the Spruce Kids [old and young]. The mountain is very proud of what the Spruce kids accomplished both in middle school [on the Junior Ski Team] and the Jay and Livermore Falls Ski Teams.

“You may or may not know but the mountain is trying to pull together another ski team and I think this would be a big boost to show these kids what “Spruce Kids” have accomplished in the past.

“I know Bradie Castonguay, this year’s mountain manager, met with TJ [Plourde] this morning and was told no but we are pleading our case with you that you reconsider.

“We are currently working with Spruce Kids [of all ages] who are willing to bid on these next week and then donate back to the mountain. This shows the amount of support the community has and their disappointment that RSU73 is being inflexible.

“It is unfortunate that we are spending our time meeting with and texting TJ [Plourde] and having to put together a plan to get these.


“Please reconsider. Or if money is REALLY the issue, let us do a Go Fund Me to raise funds to purchase them all outright. I know we would have the financial support but I am hoping the district will just do the right thing.”

At the RSU 73 board of directors meeting Jan. 25, Plourde shared new details about the auction rescheduled for Feb. 5-10. All auctions will run from 8 a.m. on the first day to 8 p.m. the second day, and people can bid as many times as they would like but must have some direct connection to the individual or team that the banner represents, including a parent, grandparent, sibling or child of a player/runner or coach, he said.

“The responsibility of proving the connection will fall upon the bidder,” Plourde noted.

At 8 p.m. on the second day, all bidding will cease and the highest bidder will be the unofficial winner until the direct connection is proven, Plourde stated. If a direct connection cannot be provided, the second highest bidder will be given the opportunity to prove a connection with the process continuing until a connection is verified, he said.

Plourde originally posted information about the auction on the school’s Facebook page Jan. 16. The post was taken down the following day.

At the Jan. 23, 2020, Regional School Unit 73 directors meeting, Keller said he planned to make all banners in the high school gym uniform.

“There are over 100 banners on the walls representing regional and state championships from both Jay and Livermore Falls high schools,” he said then. He thought 16 to 18 banners, which are roughly 3½ by 7 feet, would be needed to represent the two schools. He estimated it would cost $130 for each.

The new banners are now on display in the high school gym.

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