The Ranger Strong Assembly wrapped up a week of giving with school pride and entertainment

When students were finally called down to the gym floor for the highly anticipated line dancing “flash mob,” the forest green bleachers that surround the gym rattled as excited students grabbed their friends around them and hurriedly ran to the floor. Grins increasingly appeared on the faces of FHC students as a significant amount of each class packed onto the court and awaited the commencement of music. 

“I thought it would just be a cool experience to be around all of my fellow students and meeting new, other people,” junior Mason Childers, who participated in the “flash mob,” said. “I had a great time dancing, and I would one-hundred percent do it again next year.” 

Mason was first introduced to the idea of dancing in the “flash mob” when his teacher, Kim Herr, announced to her class that they would be participating in learning the dance and doing it at the assembly. Mason usually had about two hours of practicing per day for the dance at school last week. 

“I felt very prepared, and I felt like it really brought us as an FHC community together,” Mason said. 

Encouraging unity throughout FHC for a common purpose and goal is what Ranger Strong Week was essentially all about. Throughout the week, donations were collected from both staff and students to go towards a downtown Grand Rapids organization: Family Promise. Family Promise is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide hospitality and other necessities to families who are experiencing a time of crisis. Family Promise also emphasizes keeping the families together throughout these unfortunate, challenging times. 

Physical education and yoga teacher and Student Council Co-Advisor Stacy Steensma, who was the choreographer of the “flash mob,” has been an avid supporter of Family Promise since her daughter Peyton aided with fundraising for Family Promise the first year that FHC fundraised for and donated to the organization. 

“I love being behind the scenes and helping,” Steensma said. “I love service. I saw her work, and I saw her service. [So], I got involved as a mom; I had that connection through my daughters.” 

Although the National Honors Society is technically in charge of fundraising and donating to Family Promise, Student Council enjoys being involved to make Ranger Strong Week successful. The money collected during the week will be utilized to purchase toys for the annual Christmas store that Family Promise organizes and hosts. At this store, Family Promise sells toys and other items for an extremely discounted price; therefore, struggling parents are still able to provide for their families rather than be completely donated to. 

“Nothing is handed to them, so they feel empowered,” Steensma said. “It’s not just charity; they are still paying. At the actual Family Promise store is where you see the families that are directly affected.” 

The assembly, which took place on Friday, is the perfect wrap up of Ranger Strong Week. With two Student Council representatives presenting information to the entire school in-between events, the assembly also symbolized a final push to encourage students to donate—in order for the fundraising goal to be met. 

“[The assembly] is just to bring hype and awareness, and to do something outside of the normal school day,” Steensma said. “[We] were having a week to bring awareness to Family Promise.” 

In order to encourage more participation and awareness throughout the week, Steensma organized a dance and spent the week teaching it to various classes. She loves witnessing the joy that students emulate while dancing. Last year, she taught a dance to Michael Jackson’s hit Thriller, and she desired to top last year’s performance with this year’s. 

“Seeing kids dance and smile is what I love,” Steensma said. “We took little bits and pieces of classic line dances that you see at weddings or at [school] dances. Down the future, [students] will be able to think back at this memory and remember that they learned it in school. That’s a goal of mine: that they take this forever and ever and remember it.” 

The contagiously-fun “flash mob” was fortunately not the only event that the Ranger Strong Week Assembly featured. Another enjoyable event that occurred was a humorous, competitive dodgeball game between senior and sophomore boys. The undefeated seniors took the title of champion again, but an abundance of laughs were shared throughout the game among members of all grades. 

“The dodgeball game got pretty heated, and it was pretty cool to watch,” Mason said. 

Steensma witnessed kids wholly enjoying themselves, and she noticed the obvious fun students had throughout the entire assembly. Although she felt rewarded watching the “flash mob,” she gathers the most reward through physically seeing what the money FHC raises goes towards. 

Junior class President Zoe Lipke also recognizes the importance that fundraising for Family Promise has, and she enjoys interacting with the affected families through volunteering at the annual Christmas store. Zoe also completely believes in the difference that Family Promise makes in Grand Rapids, and she is proud to have assisted in fundraising for the generous organization. 

“Family Promise helps to open people’s eyes to how life really is for some people,” Zoe said. “By raising money and helping this organization, we are not only donating, but we are making the lives of so many people so much better. That’s what it’s all about.”