Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rally Time

Our first all-school rally of the year was off the chain! Really, it was something like out of a movie, except that I don't know a movie that depicts the magic we made at Arrowhead Middle School three weeks ago. 

This is our third year using multi-grade Houses as a structure for creating a sense of belonging and fun for every student.  Our current eighth-graders never knew a middle school year without Houses. More kids have bought into the fun of representing their House with colors and chants, and most are totally down for our year-long competition among the Houses. 

Teachers and staff realize that this structure is not about giving us all more work to do; it is the balance to our strict discipline system, a significant portion of our orchestrated FUN!

We always try to kick off our first rally with the Washington High School Marching Band. This is the high school most of our middle-schoolers will attend once they leave us. A well-oiled, music machine, under the direction of Chris Green, the marching Wildcats hit the doors with booming drumbeats and blaring horns. It's all hype as they play loudly, and dance, while our students enter and take their seats in the multi-purpose room (school gym).

We could hear the Houses practicing their cheers and chants throughout the building all morning. We glimpsed crazy hats, gigantic bow ties, and face paint. Every group was decked out in their primary colors. 

The defending champions, House of Strong Foundation, showed up strong, with green hats and emerald mardi gras beads, wearing their "House Champs" t-shirts, awarded at the end of last school year. As 2013-2014 winners, they have bragging rights all year long.

House of Hope wore bright pink shirts and capes, and swipes of pink face paint under each eye. House of Creativity was a swarm of bright orange, and the Valiant House of Reason, flashed their electric yellow. Our Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Brame, a member of Reason, sported his matching yellow pants.

Dr. Cynthia Lane, our district Superintendent, joined us for our kick-off festivities. She can motivate any crowd. We all appreciated her belief in us and her inspiring message.

Other items on our Rally agenda included our cheerleaders and campus officer performing the Arrowhead Anthem, our dance team, and the always popular cup-stacking competition among House captains.

Already, hundreds of House points have been earned by students: for bringing their school supplies by our due date, for earning stamps by being prepared for class, for displaying House spirit at the rally. GPAs, attendance, behavior, community service, sports eligibility, and attendance at family conferences add to a student's point contribution for his or her House. 

It is ON this school year! No one will want to miss the second rally, which means they will need to achieve a minimum of all C's in every class first quarter! 

Many thanks to the members of our creative and efficient Renaissance Committee, who plan, prepare and host these incredible assemblies. And congratulations to all the teachers in our building, all of whom successfully invested our students in our building-wide motivational program. 

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