The spirit that is always there: the rock


The sky was dark; the sun was nowhere to be found—the perfect conditions for a vandalization.

But the high school lights were on and illuminating the surrounding areas. Junior Julia Kirkman and senior Courtney Collar, captain of the dance team, bought a couple cans of spray paint and made their way to the high school at 9:00 P.M. the night before they flew to Florida for dance team nationals.

Instead of vandalizing, they traveled to the rock that is perched on the roundabout circle where the buses pass daily.

Painting the rock didn’t come randomly to Julia and Courtney; it was their goal to do it before they graduated.

“I think [the rock is] a fun show of school spirit,” Julia said. “A fun thing for other people to look at and just kind of fun to do.”

Although she keeps it near the front of her mind when she’s outside now, Julia was not always someone who paid attention to the rock. When she was a freshman, she passed by it every day walking to the bus so it slipped her mind.

Julia is not the only person who has overlooked the rock. Athletic Director Clark Udell also believes people overlook it.

“I think people forget about it,” Udell said. “I don’t think it’s as big a part of our rallying cry so to speak as the fight song or an assembly or something like that, but I think it’s just one of those things where, quite honestly, sometimes it’s a way for a group or a team that may not get the attention some others do to kind of say, ‘Hey! We’re here too.’”

Udell understands that though it is not a huge piece of FHC culture, it is still important.

The rock allows people to come together to paint something that a group or the whole school relates to or supports. It is a way to show school spirit.

“There’s ownership in the big piece that is FHC and FHC athletics,” Udell said. “So I think it’s just kind of a unifying activity. Kind of like the state champ flag or the fight song. It’s just one of those things that’s in the culture that celebrates being FHC.”

The rock helps people show their spirit, but it also serves as a place to fuel athletes’ energy.

Whether it is from a rival school painting on the rock, or their own doing, the athletes see the rock and are ready for the competition ahead of them.

“I hope we don’t get angry you know, it’s just a rock,” Udell said. “But just kind of that fired up, good teasing so to speak, competitiveness.”

The rock has been a source of spirit and fuel of energy for many years now.

This means layers and layers have been painted on it: showing pride, informing people about shows, rivals trying to psych the school out, only to fuel their energy. People can paint on it whenever they want.

“It would be interesting to see how many layers of paint is on it,” Udell said. “It’s been a different rallying point for different things over the years; sometimes it’s more often, sometimes it goes a while. It’s kind of a fun rallying old school spirit rock.”

Udell doesn’t have an estimation of paint, but wrestling coach and World history teacher Brad Anderson believes there is around a half-inch of pride and spirit stuck to that rock.

I think it’s just kind of a unifying activity. Kind of like the state champ flag or the fight song. It’s just one of those things that’s in the culture that celebrates being FHC.

— Clark Udell

Anderson has helped that rock grow himself on multiple occasions, no matter what the consequences, and this might be a part of why he loves the rock so much, but it is also because of all the rock has done.

“I [am passionate about the rock],” Anderson said. “It’s just one more little tradition that makes our school special. And if you know, schools around the area have borrowed the idea. We were kind of the original in the area.”

The tradition has made its way beyond the school’s borders, but it is still this school’s tradition.

“It’s one of those things where there is not a ton of attention toward it, but it is one of those things, you know it’s a focal point and it’s an extra add-on to our rich tradition here,” Anderson said.

Despite people turning their heads when they pass it, Anderson understands the power the rock has and he wishes the rock was here when he attended the school.

“I think it’s another tradition,” Anderson said, “another layer of what this school is, has, and is all about. It’s one more thing that we take pride in. It’s a piece of the tapestry of our traditions.”