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FHS clears trophy space

The awards in display cases at FHS date back to 1990. Older significant awards are in storage.

Farmington High School has a long tradition of school spirit and athletic accomplishments. "Tiger Pride" spans generations. But what happens to all of the trophies those generations have brought home?

That's something FHS athletics director Jon Summer has had to deal with recently -- deciding what to do with the 500 to 600 trophies, plaques and certificates Farmington High School sporting teams have accumulated over the years. His decision to simply throw away a few of them caught the attention of some FHS alumni.

The old high school, now Boeckman Middle School, had many display cases. There was something close to one case per sport in the old building. As part of last summer's move to the Flagstaff Avenue school, Summer chose to go clean out each of the display cases at the Denmark Avenue site. It was only fair, he said, that awards and accomplishments by BMS students be recognized in the school's cases, and FHS awards likewise be kept in the FHS cases.

But there aren't as many display cases at the new high school, and the cases there are also being used for academic recognitions and other activities like the one-act play and mock trial.

"The trophy cases, in my opinion, weren't put up just for athletic achievements," Summer said. "We want kids to be involved in the school. We need to balance that with the kids who want to be involved in other school activities."

But still, there was the question of what to do with all of the trophies of days gone by.

Cleaning house

Summer set up some parameters to guide decisions about which awards were kept, which were stored, which were displayed and which would be thrown. Any trophy recognizing success at a conference, section, region or state level was kept.

But Summer decided to get rid of the many certificates, trophies and plaques from invitationals the school has participated in over the years. There were a lot of awards that weren't even for first or second place finishes, Summer said. Among the trophies thrown out was one from a 1984 Faribault Invitational, where the then-boys basketball team took fourth place.

"We had to make the decision to display those, or do we display the state and section accomplishments? It's pretty common when you go across high schools in the area," Summer said. "They're having to make that same decision about what kinds of awards they're going to display."

Tiger traditions


So yes, a number of older trophies have been thrown out. But many of those trophies and awards that are older are still in storage. Summer has decided to highlight Tiger athletic accomplishments from 1990 to today in the display cases, but someday, those trophies, too, will be placed in storage - most likely because the current teams will have earned recognitions.

In the 2009-2010 school year, there were 27 athletic programs offered to students. Within those 27 programs, there were multiple team levels - B squad, junior varsity and so on. If each of those teams brought back just one award last year, that would mean about 74 new awards for the display cases, Summer said.

To simply add more display cases around the school would be one solution, but with the number of awards that could come in annually, doing so could lead to a "domino effect," Summer said.

"There's no intent to diminish the accomplishments of past Farmington Tiger athletes," Summer said, "but we still need to have a decision about what we put in and what we don't."

To recognize the historic accomplishments of Tiger athletes, there are new banners hanging in the gymnasium for each sport. And each sport has a banner for conference, section and state championships. When a team earns wins at any of those levels, like when the girls hockey team won the section title in the 2007-08 season, those awards are listed on the banners.

"To win a state or conference award, those are pretty amazing accomplishments. Those banners are pretty slick. We get a sticker and we can put the year on (the banner). We recognize there's an important history and tradition to Farmington athletics. You might walk into the building and not see the trophy, but if you went into the gym and see the banner, you see the year," Summer said.

Once explained to concerned FHS alumni, Summer's process made sense.

"I yelled Fire! when apparently there was nothing but smoke," wrote alumni Alan Lubke in an email. Lubke initially contacted FHS principal Ben Kusch on the matter. "But I'm glad I pulled the alarm."

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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