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    Posted September 25, 2014 by
    Peyton, Colorado
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    How Students in Colorado Surged School Pride for Homecoming


    PEYTON, Colorado (Sept. 25, 2014) – Hardly a seat remained open in the high school’s gymnasium. Hundreds of students, many dressed in green and gold, had filed into the homecoming assembly Sept. 25 for a lively event led by their student council.


    “Whether it’s a green T-shirt, or they’re full-on decked out in tutus and face paint, or just a little headband, today everyone had some sort of Falcon (High School) gear on,” said 12th-grader Amelia Thompson, who led the school’s ninth- through 12th-grade assembly.


    An opportunity to focus on school pride ahead of homecoming, spirit week participation may have doubled this year, said Thompson, 17. The student body president is a graduate of Meridian Ranch Elementary School and Falcon Middle School in District 49.


    District 49 educates around 19,000 students in its portfolio of schools, as one of Colorado’s fastest growing school districts. It spans more than 130 square miles, covering northeast Colorado Springs and the Falcon area of El Paso County.


    “Our school unity this year has improved immensely,” said Thompson about Falcon High School, which educates about 1,300 students. “It’s because of leaders throughout our school stepping up. The junior and senior classes are setting a great example for underclassmen.”


    Students praised comical competitions and high-energy performances, and slideshows of student accomplishments and goals. Smartphones rose from the bleachers to grab photos and videos for social media, where a hashtag groups homecoming updates: #FHSHoCo14.


    “Mostly everyone has a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and we now have all three for our student council – we’ve also been doing videos for YouTube,” said Thompson, explaining a more active social media campaign this year.


    “But the leaders in our school aren’t just in student council. The leaders are also in gaming club, and in volleyball and football … and so, by getting their participation, we started a chain reaction from within the different clubs and teams.”


    Thompson says the addition of class-level competitions was important, including events that deviate from the traditional athletic homecoming rivalries.


    “We’ve been trying to get every single club and activity out and participating, and we’re creating events that’ll appeal to different target areas of people,” she said. “Our sports teams are all really supportive of other clubs and activities.”


    While homecoming court was announced, everyone heard responses to “Why do you love Falcon?” They underlined supportive staff, committed students, friendly attitudes and school pride. Even a teacher court was rewarded by a rumbling applaud.


    “Last year, we didn’t have as many people here,” said 12th-grader Rebecca Daniel, after watching a cheer performance. “Everybody is participating. And our freshmen and sophomores came in with a better idea of how to participate.”


    Daniel, 18, a self-described introvert, has attended the school since ninth grade. She says it’s getting easier for everyone to get to know each other.


    “Everybody is more confident in the halls, and willing to talk with each other,” she said.


    Twelfth-grader Hunter Tuten, 17, was recognized during the assembly as part of the school’s first varsity golf team to reach a state competition in six years. He says a greater emphasis on collaboration is positively affecting the school.


    “Student council, teachers, staff and our student class are getting everyone together – it’s been a group effort with a lot more peer mediation leaders,” said Tuten, who’s spent his entire high school career at Falcon High School.


    “There are a lot more people today who know each other, talk with each other,” he said.


    Student council introduced a random name generator to ensure every student knew he or she could get picked for an activity or game during spirit week.


    “Our school spirit has increased so much,” said Thompson, “and everyone wants to be a part of it, and everyone feels like they’re a part of something big.”


    More than two-thirds of the senior class had participated in Sprit Week, according to Thompson. Sixty-two percent of students had somehow supported the events – an impressive 76 percent welcomed the clothing request for class color day.


    Thompson, who’s planning on playing college soccer while majoring in marketing with a minor in psychology, said collecting such data is part of budding efforts to boost future turnouts.


    It’ll help the school better recognize what’s working well, said 11th grader Ty Murphy, student body vice president. Moving forward, the goal is to eventually reach a 90-percent participation rate, he said.


    “We’re going to keep it up next year,” said Murphy, 17. “This is just a start to what we hope is a new tradition for a Falcon High School homecoming assembly, and the whole homecoming week in general.”


    “Now we have a benchmark for what it needs to be next year, so hopefully we can improve on it each and every year,” he said.


    “It’s honestly been the best year of my high school career, and I hope everyone else’s,” said Thompson.


    “We’re a tight-knit community, where everyone belongs and has a place, and no matter what they can find their way and be part of something that is bigger than just high school.”

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