Assembly Changes – “All In For Ranger Country”


One new element of school assemblies will be a banner listing the Ranger Challenge champions of past years.

Two new banners will be raised to the rafters in the new gym tomorrow: one to honor the winner of the newly-named Ranger Challenge and another with the words to the Ranger fight song.

Both banners are a result of several meetings with a new Assembly Committee of teachers and staff who want to add a little zip to the assemblies.

“The new assemblies will have a little bit more pomp and circumstance to them,” history teacher Brad Anderson said.

According to Anderson, the assemblies before were “losing their sizzle.” With such a large student body and all of the Ranger Pride, assemblies are a way to bring everyone together. Anderson says that the assembly committee is working to build off of tradition and add some new elements with the new assembly structure they have created.

Anderson also said that along with the excitement that was dropping before, assemblies also had trouble with timing. Sometimes they were too long or too short, but “it was nobody’s fault.”

History teacher Steve Labenz added that before, there wasn’t much of a plan.

“It felt like it was slapped together,” Labenz said. “[The administration] has enough going on where it was just easier to get a group of [teachers] together.”

History teacher Laura Stiles agreed, saying that the new plan will have a lot more going on and be more exciting.

“It’ll be much more organized, way more packed into a smaller time,” Stiles said. “It should keep everybody’s attention [and] it should be fun.”

Principal Steve Passinault added that there’s an overall goal that he believes the committee is trying to reach.

“[The goal is] to make the assemblies enjoyable for everybody and to ramp up school spirit,” Passinault said.

While some traditions will be kept the same, such as honoring state champions and having the choir sing the national anthem, others are being changed. One of these includes the always competitive senior challenge.

“We’re not calling it the senior challenge anymore,” Anderson said. “To be fair to everybody, we’re calling it the Ranger Challenge. That’s a small change, but a big change because it increases the idea that we’re coming in for a friendly competition on a Friday. The idea is not a senior [challenge], it’s a Ranger competition, and to the best class goes the victory.”

The first Ranger Challenge is the Tug of War.  After the juniors and sophomores battle, the seniors will face the freshmen to see who competes in the finals.  Afterwards, the teachers will take on the winners if time permits.

Another change that they hope to achieve is the respect that should be given to those who are being honored at the assemblies.

“We’re encouraging all students that instead of having those sidebar conversations and chitchats, [they should] honor the people who have worked incredibly hard for state title to remain silent, standing, and really show the respect and attention that you would want if you were a national merit finalist or state champion,” Anderson said.

Anderson also said that one brand new addition to the assemblies will be quite musical.

“We’re going to begin and end each assembly with the fight song,” Anderson said. “We want every student to learn the fight song, be you a freshmen or a senior.”

According to Anderson, the faculty is always trying to increase student participation at school events, whether it’s the play, a football game, a volleyball game, or a swim meet. One of the biggest goals they have is to “indoctrinate the freshmen.” The freshmen need to see the foundation of tradition that has been built, as well as a positive school climate. They also look to the seniors and the legacy that they will leave behind. They look to both upperclassmen classes on how to act. In order for the freshmen to act accordingly, the seniors and juniors have to act accordingly as well. By increasing the school pride at the assemblies, Anderson hopes this will “build up tradition and make this a better school day by day,” so that in the end, all classes come together as one.

“Obviously at a high school level, people are going to be interested in their own things,” Anderson said. “But we also want to have a common denominator, that we’re all in for Ranger Country.”

With a solid structure that has been set up by the assembly committee, what’s left for the students to do? Anderson says they’re encouraging all students to become individual leaders, no matter their grade.

“We’re encouraging all students that whoever steps up to the microphone, listen to them, and that you take on a leadership,” Anderson said. “When the national anthem is played, sing it with enthusiasm, but don’t do it in a silly manner. Be respectful of people that perhaps have served that are in the building. Be respectful of the flag and sing the national anthem with pride. When we sing the fight song, sing at the top of your lungs.”

With a plan from the committee, and an expectation of the students, the biggest question is to how the remaining faculty will come into play. Stiles says they’re hoping to get the teachers more involved as well.

“We don’t want the teachers to stand in the doorway,” Stiles said. “We’re going to try to get the teachers to sit in the middle of the juniors and seniors. We have teachers who are going to be in charge of each group to try to keep everyone up in the bleachers.”

Anderson added that there are some teachers who strongly believe that the assemblies are necessary and a large part of what makes up the high school experience. They feel that high school should not be just about what happens in the classrooms. The hallways, athletic events, pep assemblies, powderpuff games, and bonfires-“those are the memories that [students] will make.”

He also said that attending these kinds of events boosts students’ desire to learn.

“Studies show that when students feel safe and they’re proud of their school, and when they’re engaged and interested and they feel like they’re a part of the community, learning skyrockets,” Anderson said.

So how will they continue to make assemblies a worthwhile, fun event in the years to come? Despite the fact that the assembly committee is made up of staff, Anderson says that the final say isn’t up to the teachers.

“The choice is either we’re going to do a good job with them, and we’re going to establish a tradition that’ll carry on for years and years, or they’re going to die,” Anderson said. “Make improvements, make the pep assemblies better, or we wouldn’t have them. It’s up to the student body as to how they want to go forward.”