Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Friday Night Lights at Highline High School

Quarterback Eric Anderson scores for Highline under a gorgeous evening sky

The core of the school district is what happens in our classrooms, but there's a lot going on that supports and enhances our district, too. Friday night, I visited Memorial Stadium for the football game between Nathan Hale H.S. and the Highline High School Pirates.
This year's very late arriving summer provided a beautiful backdrop for a night of high school football. There was a good crowd on hand, especially for a holiday weekend non-conference game. It was a spirited bunch, in many ways like thousands of high schools across America. There were players and parents, cheerleaders and the band, teachers and townies. Highline made a strong effort, staying with Hale most of the game, but ultimately losing 28-21. Still, the team looks like it is on the rise.

Friday night football under the lights

High school sports are about so much more than just the action on the field. There was a sense of camaraderie among the students in the stands. It was basically "good clean fun," surprisingly similar to my years as a high school student in Pennsylvania. Maybe that's why I gravitated to the band, my old stomping ground, which was blasting mostly oldies like Hang On Sloopy and Wipeout. It was good catching up with Scott Babcock, the long-time director and fellow trombonist (except that he actually, you know, still plays).

The band performs at halftime under the direction of Mr. Babcock and student director Dalia Pedro

I saw several supportive teachers and staff members at the game. No doubt they were reflecting on Highline's first week with a six-period day schedule, instead of the four-period block schedule. A few teachers shared their thougths on this with me. There are a lot of advantages to the six period day schedule, such as the continuity of year-long classes, but a few drawbacks and growing pains, too. I'm glad teachers felt comfortable sharing both sides with me.

Finally, I couldn't end without a nod to Principal Damon Hunter. It was no surprise seeing Mr. Hunter at the game, seated in the front row. Visibility is one of his strengths. Last year, I went to Highline during testing and the office staff told me to go to the main hall, in front of the library. Sure enough, there was Mr. Hunter, sitting at a table he had pulled into the hall with his laptop computer. The halls were quiet, and he was going to keep it that way.

With Principal Damon Hunter

With the band, the cheerleaders, and the fans, Memorial Stadium was anything but quiet on Friday night. Best wishes to Highline High School on the new school year!

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