KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville city leaders filled the City County Building on Tuesday for their usual city council meeting. Many brought thick packets filled with everything from routine minutiae to hard decisions about housing. They also gathered to make a special announcement in honor of some schoolchildren.
They honored the Austin-East High School boys soccer team by naming the day after them. They declared June 15, that Tuesday, to be "Austin-East Boys Soccer State Championship Day" in Knoxville.
The team was gathered in the room as the meeting began, and it was near the top of the agenda for the council members.
"We are honored to have the state champions, Austin-East soccer team with us today," said Vice-Mayor Gwen McKenzie. "It really helped us start healing."
She then described a community party held in the team's honor when they returned from their game against Gatlinburg-Pittman last month. They returned historic state champions. It was the first time the team made it to the state tournment.
McKenzie said around 300 people gathered to celebrate the team when they returned. A police escort also met them at the county line to congratulate the team on their victory.
She also said the team may not have known what was in store for them as they filled in with the council.
"I'm so thrilled to join the council in celebrating this team and all the coaches, and parents, and families, and students who supported them this entire season which has culminated in a historic and unprecedented state championship," said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.
The team gathered with city leaders for a photo after Kincannon formally declared the day.