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A chain of students to tie a school together

After forming a chain through the hallways Tuesday morning Farmington students gathered on the football field for a school cheer.

Farmington High School students connected in a big way Tuesday morning -- literally. All 1,600-plus of them. Up and down the hallways, spilling out to the high school football field.

There they were -- a giant chain made of the 2009-10 student body. Lined up stairwells, around the perimeter of the second floor in the gymnasium. They were everywhere, all waiting for their two seconds of fame.

Tuesday's student body chain was all about building up school spirit, and breaking down barriers.

It was a project courtesy of the FHS Peers for Peers team. Advisor Jerry Pfau issued his students a challenge a few weeks back: come up with something fun for the student body to do before the end of the school year.

The students came up with the idea of a Chain of Unity, as they decided to call it.

Senior Jimmy O'Meara played a big role in making the event happen. As one of the people who organized the event, he was pretty pumped up about it in the days before.

"I get goose bumps thinking about it," O'Meara said last week. "I just thought doing this would be extremely cool."

The event was kept hush-hush until last Friday, when Pfau told students about it during morning announcements. Teachers were told ahead of time, but planners wanted to have an element of surprise and create a little hype, a little buzz among the student body. They also asked the students to wear their orange and black, again going back to building that school spirit.

"It's kind of the idea of standing together as individuals, but being a part of this big collective that is our school," Pfau said.

But the chain wasn't just something that FHS students could experience. Sure, they were the stars, but there will also be a show.

As part of this Chain of Unity, FHS technology educators Mark Toutge and Kristian Tharaldson zipped down the hallways. Toutge filmed each student as he went by, Tharaldson then dismissed the student and sent him or her off to Tiger Field.

After about half an hour, the two had made it through most of the school. The field gradually filled with students. Finally, the camera came to a stop at the end of the line. The student body was on the field. From the stands above, principal Ben Kusch pointed down to the students. On a count of three, a cheer rose up from those on the field.

The plan is to pull together the video, then place it on YouTube or something similar. That way, students can pull up the video, see themselves, see their friends and experience that sense of school spirit all over again, even after they've been gone from FHS for a few years.

And when it was all over, O'Meara -- dressed in his Tiger finest -- was more than just a little bit pumped up.

"It was great. On a scale of one to 10, it was definitely a 10," he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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