“We were so honored, you could have knocked us over with a feather,” owner of Gainesville’s Gem Jewelry Linda Orenstein said.
That was the reaction of Orenstein and her sister, Temme Schooler, who run the business together today, when approached by football coaches of Gainesville High and West Hall High on April 28 with a totally unexpected surprise announcement.
The Spartans’ coach, Tony Lotti, and Red Elephants’ coach, Bruce Miller, brought in a banner to the business located on the downtown square with the naming of their 2016 game in honor of their father, Marvin Orenstein, a long-time ardent supporter of high school sports for all the schools in Hall County.
What was a non-region 2016 season opener now has a proper name, The Marvin Orenstein Kickoff Classic. The first meeting between these two schools since 2011 is meant to show a token of appreciation for all the Orenstein family has done to encourage high school athletes locally through the years.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Spartan Stadium in Oakwood.
Miller said Lotti first approached him about the naming of the game in Orenstein’s honor. Gainesville’s coach said he was 100 percent in agreement with the idea.
“The Orenstein family has always been so gracious to us here at Gainesville High and other schools,” Miller said. “Mr. Orenstein was always a big supporter of high school athletics, and his daughters have continued that tradition.”
The connection between Hall County high school football and Gem Jewelry have gone hand-in-hand for many decades. The family has dedicated an MVP Award in honor of their grandfather, Mose Eplan who died in 1944, since 1946. Since then, the business has made a tradition of presenting a watch to the player of each school’s choice every season.
Miller and Lotti wanted to show their gratitude to the dedication to Hall County athletes.
“It really floored us with such an unbelievable gesture,” said Orenstein.
Orenstein’s father, Marvin Orenstein, made it a tradition to present the watches in person at end-of-the-year banquets, before he died in 2012.
Orenstein takes pride in the quality of the watches her family has presented to the players, noting the only requirement is that it be able to have engraving on the back.