Berniece Beeks

Berniece Beeks

Class of 1972

Year Inducted: 2019

Bernice Beeks was an excellent multi-sport athlete with limitless potential. Unfortunately, in the Pre-Title IX era, girls in the Buffalo public high schools had no opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports. Before 1975, their only options were sports clubs, intramural volleyball, or joining a student run Pre-Title IX team.

Bernice played 4 years of intramural volleyball which was run by P.E. teacher Miss Blue. She also played 2 seasons of Pre-Title IX basketball. The girls on the team purchased their own uniforms and took city buses to games. Prior to their 1971 – ‘72 season, Bern hand sewed all the team members’ numbers onto the front and back of their uniform shirts. Practices were held in backyards, at the Kensington Playground and the Delaware Park Courts. In bad weather, practice took place on the 2nd floor hallway of Bennett with a trash can as a substitute for a hoop. Games were played against C.Y.O. teams, private, and Catholic schools. Bern was a vital member of a scrappy team that represented Bennett and the Buffalo public schools well. Thanks to her speed, jumping ability, and defense; her 1971 – ‘72 team had a 10 Win – 2 Loss season. One can only imagine how good she would have been with proper coaching and regular practices. She also played 2 seasons of Pre-Title IX softball. Those practices were held at Shoshone Park. She was also a 2-year member of the Bennett Horseback Riding Club of which Miss Blue was faculty adviser.

After high school, Bern continued her athletic pursuits. For 9 years, she played outfield for the “Soulful Queens” of the Buffalo Softball League. There, she won the Most Home Runs and 2 MVP trophies. She has been playing volleyball for “Hannah’s Team” for over 17 years at Houghton Park. She also bowled in the General Mills Ladies League. Her team the “Lucky Charms” won 2 First Place trophies. A couple of years ago. she took up a new sport – Pickleball. Just as in high school, if sports are being played, Bern is there.

Bernice recently retired from her job at General Mills. Her sons Tyrone, 46 and Nathaniel, 38 both played football for Seneca High School and the Lackawanna Dynasty. These days, Bern can be found in local gyms and parks instilling the love of sports and the benefit of an active lifestyle in her grandchildren.