MAU players celebrate after winning the Division II statewide championship.

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Okay, we confess to being infected with the Mount Anthony Union High School fever following this weekend’s thrilling victory by the football team for the Division II statewide championship — the first time since 1994 the team has gone all the way and become state champs.

The program made us Bennington-proud.

This community already knew our players were champions. Prior to Saturday’s game, the team buses were enthusiastically escorted off to the game by a line of fire engines and police vehicles. Dozens of fans brought signs, cowbells and their energy as they packed Park Street to wish their team well on their journey north to Rutland.

And we showed up at Alumni Field to root for our team, packing the bleachers for the double-overtime game. Best of all, the welcome home was epic — our fire trucks and police cruisers led the team on a victory parade through the downtown as people came out of homes and businesses to cheer the team.

Patriots coach Chad Gordon called the support “breathtaking.”

We agree.

Bennington County’s young people never cease to amaze us.

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They are enthusiastic at girls’ and boys’ sports, whether it’s soccer, wrestling, hockey, basketball, baseball, track, and so much more. They join clubs; they are artists; they play in the band and sing in the chorus and choir; they participate in programs that give back to their communities; they volunteer for community events; they march in parades.

In recent weeks, the Banner highlighted a group of Burr and Burton Academy students working to destigmatize mental illness and prevent suicide by hosting the Yellow Tulip Club, open to the community, to bring survivors of suicide together to find connection.

We also featured the MAU drama club’s dress rehearsal for their upcoming performance of “Chicago High School Edition,” which will be performed on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. These kids rock … literally!

We showcased students at North Bennington’s Village school marching in Bennington’s Veterans Day Parade, and second graders from the school singing to voters on Election Day at the local polling place.

Our Vermont Voices column featured a teen who is working hard – and successfully – to find his place in school (he is also participating in drama at BBA). And 13-year-old Madelyn Burnham of Shaftsbury sent the Banner several top-notch photos she had taken in downtown Bennington – and we used one on our Business page this week.

These kids are remarkable. And they are not unique. Bennington County youth are stellar, whether they are spending their Saturdays on the field winning statewide football trophies or quiet weekends reading or helping friends and family.

Kudos to our MAU football team and coach Gordon. Hats off to all the other amazing students throughout Bennington County who are leaving their mark on our communities.


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