Assemblies create a larger sense of community and school pride


Annie Douma

This is from the 2022 Ranger Rumble right before Homecoming.

Social studies teacher Laura Stiles is extraordinarily proud to say that she participated in the grandest performance of the “Thriller” dance in FHC history.

“We did the largest ‘Thriller’ dance—this was before [the classes currently attending FHC] got here—with 600 people on the floor, all doing ‘Thriller,’” Stiles said. “We took the whole week before, and we picked a couple of teachers that we thought would be in and they brought their class down every hour to the gym; we taught [the dance] for two days to about twelve classes. The ‘Thriller’ dance was pretty awesome—it was spectacular.”

Stiles has been aiding the organization and planning of assemblies at FHC for about 28 years. She believes that the “Thriller” dance was unforgettable and magnificent; but, more importantly, she appreciates that it brought the school together, which is exactly what assemblies are meant for.

Assemblies, while creating a break in the student’s everyday schedules, also provide an opportunity for the entire school to assemble for some friendly competition and a larger sense of camaraderie among the students, thus forging school spirit.

“Without a doubt, [assemblies] add to school spirit,” Stiles said. “Without them, what would we do? Now, we have all the big stuff during Homecoming, like the Ranger Rumble with everybody, and that’s awesome. The bands and the class advisors have been really awesome. I think [assemblies are] the biggest part of school pride because it’s the only time [the whole school is] together, all cheering for the same thing. We try to make a couple of weeks during the school year that are really fun [and] ridiculous.”

School pride is one of the most crucial aspects of high school; it ensures that school is about more than grades—it’s about the community as well.

I think [assemblies are] the biggest part of school pride because it’s the only time [the whole school is] together, all cheering for the same thing.

— Laura Stiles

Along with Stiles, business teacher Kristin O’Brien also plays a crucial role in organizing the assemblies. O’Brien has helped assure that there is always a large variety of students participating in the events.

“We’re getting not only athletes involved,” O’Brien said, “we’re also getting the musicians, the Random Acts of Talent people, the dance team, and when we have a competitive cheer team, we usually get them involved, too. So we’re getting a lot of different people involved. And, during Winterfest, we have window painting, so you also have a lot of art students, too. There [are] a lot of different people that can get involved. Having everybody together and having fun [is the point of having assemblies]. Obviously, there’s also a bit of rivalry and a competitive piece to it.”

Unifying the school takes hard work and dedication from all those involved; when done correctly, the competition will only bring everyone closer. 

Accompanying the many successful assemblies are the ones that did not go as planned; however, instead of allowing this to hinder her, O’Brien now laughs at the humorous memories.

“One very memorable [assembly] was a few years ago when the lip syncs were happening,” O’Brien said, “and a group had asked if they could spray water on each other because they were pretending to box each other. I approved it, saying that ‘you just have to clean it up afterward.’ But, somehow during that time, they decided to add in chocolate syrup, maple syrup, whipped cream, and something oily, and it got all over the gym floor. We had tried our best to clean it up, but there were still slick spots during the [next] basketball game, and you could see [the players] sliding. [English teacher] Mr. George was coaching at the time, and he just kept looking at me and glaring. I was like, ‘it wasn’t me.’”

As many can see from this example, even the events that don’t go as planned can create an opportunity for the school to laugh and band together.

It isn’t only staff members that take part in planning assemblies and events. Class trustee junior Paige Harsevoort contributes to making these events happen smoothly and successfully.

“For events in general, I help vote on selections for different topics and events,” Paige said. “[The student council] helps in planning spirit days for Homecoming, Winterfest, all that stuff. And we also help with organizing events like Family Promise, and we help make posters for events that are happening. Being a part of the planning is really fun because I get to see how everything is put together, and then seeing it come together is pretty rewarding because I helped contribute to it.”

For Paige, the end result is worth the work that she puts into making sure that the rest of the school can relax and have fun.

Similar to both Stiles and O’Brien, Paige appreciates that assemblies have the potential to bring the school closer as a population. 

“I think it’s really important because the student council really has a good representation of the student body,” Paige said. “I think it’s good that students from each class get to put their own opinion on it instead of just the teachers making executive decisions that they think would be best.”

The process ensures that both students and staff get a say in the decisions, which takes care that everyone is content with the end results and that the rest of the school has fun, which is ultimately what assemblies are all about. 

“I would have an assembly every month if I could because I think people need a break,” Stiles said. “And, I love it when we come together and sing the fight song. My favorite cheer is [the one that goes], ‘This! Is! Ranger! Country!’”