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Glenbard South community rallies around 'superfan' who has long showed support for school

Published: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 6:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 12:03 a.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
Glenbard South High School "superfan" Dave Key of Glen Ellyn poses with the high school's Raiders mascot. Key graduated from the school in 2000 and continues to support its many sports teams by attending as many games as he can.

GLEN ELLYN – This holiday season, the Glenbard South High School community is proving that what goes around, comes around.

Students, staff, alumni and families are coming together for alumnus Dave Key, who has long been a supporter of the school’s athletics, by helping him get important dental work that he wouldn’t be able to receive otherwise.

“Anybody who goes to a game, they may not know his name, but they know him as ‘superfan,’” said John Smith, who coaches sophomore football and freshman baseball and launched the fundraising website “Dollars for Dave.”

Key first was introduced to South athletics when he was a student, serving as the team manager for the baseball, basketball and football teams at various points during his high school career.

After graduating from the school’s program for students with special needs in 2000, he continues to show his loyalty to Glenbard teams by going to as many games as he can, attending hundreds over the years. Key finds one way or another to get to the competitions, whether he’s walking, taking the bus or train, or accepting a ride from other South fans.

“It’s so much fun,” Key said. “I just met so many wonderful people there.”

Smith met Key through his role as coach, and after hearing about a bullying incident that occurred when Key attended an away game about a year ago, Smith decided it was time to step up and show Key the same support he had always given the school and its teams.

“Enough’s enough, let’s just do something,” Smith said.

Smith started Dollars for Dave with fellow coaches John Grayson and Mike Hearn, who hoped to raise $5,500. The website launched about a month ago, and has already collected more than 50 percent of its goal.

“When you read some of the comments from those who have donated, it shows me how much he did mean to them,” Smith said.

Sandy Tenerelli, who has known Key since her children attended Glenbard South, first met him at a baseball game. Her son Mike played baseball and football at South, and Tenerelli would often talk to Key at games.

After Mike graduated and played football at North Central College in Naperville, Key continued to be a fan and attended Mike’s college games.

“I just wanted to support him because he was there to support the Glenbard South teams,” said Tenerelli, who contributed to the Dollars for Dave fundraiser.

Jill Ulm, another Glenbard South mom, also met Key through her son’s involvement on the baseball team and wanted to give back to him.

“He’s just given so much to the school and to the kids,” Ulm said. “This is just something small that everyone else can give back.”

Smith and Key have been working with Dr. Muzammil Saeed of Baker Hill Dental to determine the best treatment plan. The hope is to have the dental work completed by Christmas as a special present to Key from his Glenbard South family.

“He will be smiling at Christmas,” Smith said.

Any money raised beyond what’s needed for the initial treatment will go toward follow-up appointments for Key and possible speech therapy in light of the changes to his teeth.

Smith hopes Key’s new smile will improve his confidence and speech and help him to get a job. Key believes the dental work will allow him to be more positive and outgoing.

“I just feel so blessed,” Key said.


How to help

Visit to donate to "Dollars for Dave."

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