Hey, FHS, your school spirit is showing
Farmington High School senior Jared Stearns would like to think the days of toilet papering, class rivalries and all the other vandalism and dangerous acts that used to happen homecoming week are long gone.
For the most part, that seems to be the case. Since the student body collectively decided to clean up its act two years ago, homecoming has been just what it should be -- a week of school spirit and community pride.
So Stearns has reason to be excited for next week, the last homecoming of his high school career. A member of the homecoming committee since he was a sophomore, Stearns and several of his classmates have worked long and hard not only on this year's celebration, but the ones from the past two years, as well.
The 2008 Farmington High School homecoming celebration begins this Saturday, with the Tiger Fun Run at the high school. Open to all residents, the Fun Run is a newer event that tries to engage not just students, but the community beyond Farmington High School, as well. Homecoming wraps up next Friday with the football game and dance.
Every day in this next week brings activity -- and most of those activities have free food for the students. Sunday is float building at the fairgrounds from 4-7 p.m. Monday there's bowling at Farmington Lanes at 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday feature various home games, and Tuesday means tacos and a movie; Thursday brings big people on tricycles for the Tricycle Races at 6 p.m.
Wednesday is a big night, with the 6 p.m. homecoming parade down Third Street and east on Spruce to the school, followed by coronation at 8 p.m., and a bonfire at Farmington Fire Hall no. 1 after that.
There are theme days at the school, too -- Monday is Blast from the Past Day; Tuesday is Superior Day; Wednesday is Clone/Twin Day; Thursday is Sports Day; and Friday, of course, is Tiger Pride Day.
During the school day Thursday, Tiger athletes will be making the rounds to visit classrooms in the elementary schools.
And again, Stearns stressed, there is free food for the students at most of the events.
"That's a pretty important thing for kids," he said. "It's a good attraction."
Free food is certainly a draw, but it is not the only thing to which Stearns attributes the success of recent homecoming celebrations. Actually, it seems that there has been a whole attitude shift among the student body, one that endorses community pride and school spirit, but shuns disruptive behaviors.
"It was pretty scary there for a while," Stearns said. "There was this realization that, 'Hey, somebody could die from this. We need to fix it.'"
And so they did. These days, students still get the big "this is what could happen if..." speech they used to get. Only these days, students are giving that same speech to their peers.
"We thought it was important that it was students telling other students, rather than administrators waving fingers at them," Stearns said.
Having so many events every evening has helped, too. The variety of events is planned specifically reach out to as many students as possible.
Stearns said it is no coincidence the community's perception of homecoming has changed. Students are working hard to show Farmington they appreciate the many donations they receive to support homecoming.
Perhaps the biggest example of that thanks comes in the form of the students wanting to give back to Farmington. That's why, starting Saturday and going through Thursday, students will collect donations for the Farmington Food Shelf.
"The businesses and people here are so generous to us, we thought we should give something back," Stearns said, "so we started taking collections for the food shelf."
Before the pep feast Friday, members of the homecoming committee will deliver the food.
Make no mistake, though -- homecoming would not be homecoming without fans at the Tiger football game. And so far this year, Stearns said his classmates have shown great leadership in this area.
He points to the recent Farmington-Red Wing game in Red Wing, when, he said, "Our fans just about outnumbered theirs. I think that's a great showing of school spirit, and appreciation for the community, as well."