Actress, producer, and Park View High School alumna Hilarie Burton made a surprise appearance at Park View junior varsity football team’s pep rally Friday, accompanied with a surprise announcement: She will personally pay for any students who want to go to football camp next year.
Burton’s visit was prompted by news that Park View will not have a varsity football team this year because too few juniors and seniors tried out for the team.
“There was a large population of Loudoun that was really upset about it, and I kept looking around, and I didn’t see anybody doing anything about it quite yet,” Burton said.
Burton graduated from Park View in 2000. In her time there, she was student council treasurer, vice president, and president; captain of the cheerleading squad; and homecoming queen. She said while the football story was the catalyst, she hopes to help any Park View students who need it.
Burton and her friends and fellow alumni like Play to Win Director of Branding and Design Tony Canonico are also launching a grant organization among Park View alumni to raise funds and reunite members of the Sterling Park community. The organization is still setting up, but is known as Project Patriot and already has Facebook page.
She said it isn’t the wins and losses she remembers from competing in high school.
“What I remember is the bus rides, and I remember the locker rooms, and I remember the, you know, the in-between moments,” Burton said. “And I think that is something that the students who are actively in school don’t know…. They don’t realize that it’s those in-between moments that make the magic of high school. And so I don’t care if the Park View High School football team ever, ever, ever wins a game. What I want for them is to have these friends and memories.”
Burton is best known for playing Peyton Sawyer on the TV drama One Tree Hill for six seasons, along with recurring roles on Grey’s Anatomy, White Collar, and the Lethal Weapon TV series. She is married to actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, known also for roles in Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, and The Walking Dead.
Park View varsity players were invited to transfer to Dominion High School to play for the Titans this season, and nine made the move, according to Athletic Director Jason Testerman. The Virginia High School League waived its rule that prohibits students from playing athletics in the first year they transfer schools. The trouble is that some of those players want to return to Park View to play soccer in the spring, but the state league has so far said they will not make a second exception for the students to return to Park View.
School Board member Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) announced at an Aug. 14 meeting that she will do what she can to ensure students can “come back and play without penalty. I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I will try.”
She also urged residents countywide to get out and support Park View’s junior varsity team. “Come out to at least one Park View game this season. Buy a hot dog, a slice of pizza, and cheer on the JV team, the marching band and the cheerleaders who are working so hard.”
The team’s next home game is 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, against the Loudoun Valley Vikings.