Students work behind scenes to make events happen
For many students at White Pine High School, this week’s slate of homecoming events means getting to hang out at a bonfire or cheering on the football team. But the week of fun activities holds a deeper meaning for a smaller group of students at the school; the ones that made it all happen.
According to WPHS vice principal Becky Murdock, the school administration hands off nearly all of the organization and responsibility of coordinating the homecoming events to student volunteers, many of whom formed committee’s over their summer break to begin planning. The goal is to let the week be something “special and unique,” Murdock said, a feeling that students might feel more when they helped put everything together.
“The work is all done by the kids so when it is all done, it is something that they can be proud of. We want homecoming week to have that feeling that this is the student’s big week, so we really leave it in the hands of the student council,”Murdock said.
That sentiment rings true for student council member Emily Prindle, a junior who worked with two other students to help set up this year’s bonfire night, an annual tradition for homecoming week. After starting her planning during summer, spending nights calling businesses to try and receive wood pallet donations,
finding student volunteers to help stack the pallets and arranging for a fire truck to be on hand, Prindle said she feels a rewarding sense of ownership over the event when it finally all comes together.
“We work so hard and it can be really stressful, but all the late nights are worth it in the end when it works out and people have a good time,” Prindle said.
And Prindle’s not alone in feeling that way. Fellow junior and student council member Katie Nichols called the feeling of watching an event that took lots of planning and hard work to put together go off as planned “one of the most amazing things in the world.” Nichols described the time working with her classmates and underclassmen as memorable “bonding time” that brings her not just more pride in her school, but also pride in herself.
“I wasn’t really involved much when I was in middle school so I wanted to try it out when I got to high school. It really is a stressful thing to plan these events but looking back on all of it now, the memories make it all worth it,” Nichols said.
Student Council Advisor Megan Wright said she “loved watching the process” the students go through to coordinate the homecoming assembly, or movie night or pregame pep rally, because it teaches them real world organizational skills and time management in a practical way.
“It really isn’t about the events themselves. Yes they are great and fun but for these kids who put homecoming on, the real joy is in the process. When I see them making phone calls to organize donations and they are unsure of what to say and work together to come up with a plan, I feel like I’m watching them turn into adults before my eyes,” Wright said.
Freshman McKenzie Shady spent extra-curricular time helping organize the school’s second annual mud tug-of-war match as part of the spirit week’s events. When asked what she learned from the process, Shady demonstrated Wright’s point.
“I learned you have to be able to think on your feet. This is my first year helping plan and you realize while you doing everything that things might not go the way you want or had planned for, so you have to be flexible in coming up with a new way to solve that problem,” Shady said.
“You really have to stay on top of things. You can’t get behind or things will get out of control,” added freshman Leslie Obrien.
But whether it’s students filling the drama room on a Tuesday night to watch “Monster’s Inc.” on movie night or or having students come dress to school in their pajamas, homecoming Junior Grand Marshall Michayla Cessford said it all comes back to supporting the school’s teams on their homecoming games and bringing everyone closer together.
For those in the community that would like to join in and feel the school spirit the student council has worked to build, the WPHS varsity volleyball team will begin their home match against the Meadows on Friday at 3 p.m. and the football team will face the Meadows at 7 p.m.