- Early College High School
Among several other changes to the school this year, the event that has been gaining the most attention is the Tiger Cup competition. Although spirit wars between homerooms existed in the first two years of the school’s history, the SGA-led events this year are more structured and competitive than ever before.
“We are focusing on school spirit this year because we want Early College to be a place where students move from saying, ‘We're going to school’ to ‘We're going to our school,’ Civics teacher and SGA co-sponsor Ms. Stephanie King said. “Our desire is that student ownership of school spirit would begin in SGA and extend throughout the student body.”
With a heavy load of high school and college credits, students were in need of a break from academics. In response, the staff created a School Culture Committee to organize spirit events.
“Our goal is to use Spirit Wars activities to build a sense of community. Since we don't have our own sports teams, community-building activities are important to building a positive school culture,” AVID teacher and SGA co-sponsor Ms. Dawn Althen said. “We also know that the stress of taking college classes is sometimes overwhelming, and we want to offer as many opportunities for fun, de-stressing activities as possible.”
The SGA wants the selection of these activities to ultimately be decided by the students. Their involvement is essential to the success and longevity of the competition.
“Our struggle right now is making the activities fun for the participants and for those watching,” Ms. Althen said. “We are hoping that each homeroom will pick different students for activities from month to month so that everyone gets a chance to feel fully involved.”
Although the final Tiger Cup competition will not be held until the end of the school year, students can expect monthly challenges and opportunities for spirit points. There will be a total of four door decorating competitions spread throughout the year, and each week will have at least one Spirit Day.
“We are also thinking about supplementing the door decorating contests with club-sponsored contests,” Ms. Althen said, “In December, for instance, the Gardening Club will host a wreath decorating competition. They will come up with the scoring rubric and the judging criteria. We are hoping more clubs will volunteer to ‘sponsor’ monthly spirit competitions.”
At the end of each month, the homeroom with the most spirit points are awarded the Tiger Cup for the month. These spirit points are also totalled for the year to determine the final winning class.
History teacher Mr. Daniel Parks has experience with winning these events and enjoys the rivalry that the Tiger Cup has created among classes.
“The Tiger Cup is about creating school spirit by having homerooms compete against each other in friendly competitions each month,” Mr. Parks said. “The trophy is the main prize, but you also win ultimate bragging rights!”
Although the final winning homeroom will not be determined for several months, students and staff are excited about the new improvements to school culture.
“I have no idea who will win the Tiger Cup,” school counselor Ms. Rhiannon Rainsford said, “but I am excited to see ECHS’ school spirit shine!”
The next Spirit Wars will be in January. SGA welcomes input from all ECHS students about future competitions and encourages students to share their ideas with one of the SGA members.