Ranger Strong Week has impactful events planned to bring FHC together


Strong school spirit, unity with one another, and an environment where all support each other. This is what principal Steve Passinault and assistant principal John DeStefano aim to produce with Ranger Strong Week.

“We try to do a variety of things during the week that are about building a strong community that supports each other,” Passinault said. “It’s not always easy in a high school when you’ve got 1260 kids and a lot of different personalities, cultures, backgrounds, and religions. So it’s kind of a push to try and build a strong community.”

Ranger Strong Week, in its inception, was put together for students and staff to be reminded of what it is to be a Ranger, what it is to walk the halls of FHC, what the expectations are, and how the student body, staff, and faculty- who come to the same building eight hours a day- can be there for each other.

A variety of different activities and events will take place throughout the week. On Monday, there will be a kickoff video on FX to introduce Ranger Strong week and make students and teachers start thinking about what it means to be a Ranger. This will prepare the students for what is to come during the remainder of the week.

On Tuesday, a speaker will come to talk about social media and its issues that are rapidly increasing in the community today.

“One of the challenges that we’ve been facing a lot of is the challenges of social media and how it can tear a community apart in a lot of ways,” Passinault said. “So we have a really good speaker coming in that is going to talk about that.”

DeStefano enjoys bringing speakers in, as he has seen how impactful they have been for the entire school in the past.

“Last year, having Bill come in [and hearing about] just what he accomplished with some of his conditions that he was dealing with in life and his outlook on life was very impactful,” DeStefano said. “I think sometimes kids forget how blessed they are to be able to get up, walk on their own, and have their own facilities when there are kids in their own building that don’t have that ability.”

DeStefano hopes that as we hold Ranger Strong Week more and more and bring in more speakers, it will be possible to create an environment where all kids feel good and can be who they are without feeling judged.

Wednesday will be the second ever freshmen retreat, and this year, upperclassmen will have the option of going with the freshmen on their retreat as mentors or leaders.

“When we got some feedback after the senior retreat, a lot of the seniors would say that they wished they would have been able to do a retreat when they were freshmen,” Passinault said. “Seniors said that if they did it as freshmen, they could be more unified as a class and start building on some things from that.”

On Thursday, math teacher Tracy Will and the Boost club will be doing a fun and positive activity with rocks. Students will be invited during their lunchtime or after school to paint a rock with a positive message and spread it around the school.

Also on Thursday, Spanish teacher Carlos Silvestre will have his annual visit with the Spanish classes to Buchanan Elementary School. During this trip, students go and read to the elementary kids and go out to recess with them. This visit is a form of community service that will help to promote a stronger community.

“I went one year, and I was really impressed,” Passinault said. “It was fun to see the high school kids playing jump rope with the kids out on the playground, climbing the monkey bars, or throwing a football around– and to do the reading piece was cool too. I think our kids got more out of it than the young kids themselves.”

Friday will be Ranger Pride Day, which will be a fun day with a lot of school spirit. English teacher Ken George has had a part in organizing some of the things that will be done on that day.

“Steve asked me to put together some fun things for Friday that didn’t destruct our regular schedule,” George said. “Something that would build on student morale, teacher morale, and just the pride of being a Ranger.”

History teacher Brad Anderson and George have planned activities to make the day special for teachers and for students. They will take place all day, including in between classes and a little bit during classes. Some of the activities will be more geared toward teachers, and some will be more geared toward students so that everyone will feel loved, respected, and part of a great community all day.

Ranger week will continue on Saturday with students and staff to participate in community service. Teachers, community members, and different organizations were asked to give opportunities to volunteer on Saturday, so kids will be able to sign up if they want to go volunteer.

This year, Family Promise- an event where the school collects money for Christmas gifts for families that cannot afford them- and Ranger Strong Week will we held in the same week. A pop can drive will be held on Saturday morning to raise money for Family Promise.

“When we talk about Ranger Strong, Ranger Strong means you also are reaching out and helping other people,” Passinault said. “We want to do volunteering, so people are going to have to sacrifice a Saturday morning to go out and do something for others.”

Passinault explains that even though Family Promise was not part of the Ranger Strong Week before, it still ties into the overall idea of being a more united community.

“There are so many people in need out there that we can help, and to us, that is also a part of building a strong community,” Passinault said. “We are pretty fortunate in our community as a whole, and I don’t think often time our students realize how well off they are, being able to be part of a really good school system, our facilities, and school in general.”

Passinault has seen progress in the building of a stronger, more unified school throughout the years, though every year presents new challenges. Even though school is focused on academics, students and staff see the need for being there for one another and having fun.

“Being part of a community, sometimes we take ourselves too seriously,” Passinault said. “Education and our studies are important obviously, but I think [it’s also important] to be able to just have some fun, enjoy each other’s company, and get to know people.”