Sopris Sun

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RFHS homecoming week nurtures community in and out of school

By Trina Ortega
Special to The Sopris Sun

Roaring Fork High School senior Iliana Castillon Prado admits that when she dresses up for the school’s Spirit Week that culminates with the homecoming dance, she looks in the mirror and thinks: “Wow, I look really stupid.”

“But as soon as you walk through the high school doors, you think, ‘Wow, we all look really stupid,’ which makes it worth it,” Prado said, reflecting on RFHS’s themed costume days that took places last week. Spirit Week aims to strengthen the school community and build pride.

Along with the more well-known sporting events (including football, volleyball and soccer), the homecoming dance, and the class floats at the Potato Day Parade, RFHS Spirit Week incorporates some lesser-known activities during the school day. There is a bonfire, a truck rally, brute volleyball and powderpuff football, a pep rally, and themed days where students are encouraged to dress up. For example, there is a hippies vs. farmers day, a wacky socks and shorts day, the popular tacky tourist day, and of course blue and gold day.

Prado says these traditions bring students together and add to the culture of Roaring Fork.

RFHS Principal Brett Stringer agrees. “Homecoming is an amazing tradition that rallies the whole Ram community: past, present and future. Whether it be the bonfire, the football game, the Potato Days Parade, or the dance, the Carbondale spirit was alive and well,” he said.  

Other leaders in the Carbondale community say that RFHS’s homecoming week makes for a tightknit, home-town feel.  

“I think it’s incredible and it’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to be a part of this community. It is different than in a more populous place like the Front Range. It’s amazing to see everyone come together around Potato Day and have that tied with Homecoming because it’s just another example of the ties that bind our community so tightly,” said Matt Koenigsknecht, principal of Crystal River Elementary School (CRES).

High school students visited CRES last week and conducted a pep rally with the grade-schoolers.

“I’m confident in saying that both the high school kids and our elementary students loved it. We had one high schooler in tears because of the reaction of the kinders,” Koenigsknecht said.

Elementary school educator Annie Metheny says she and her husband, Mike, are big supporters of RFHS events, particularly football, despite not having children at the school. (Soon enough — they have two boys in middle school.) She says the games should be billed as community events and wishes more community members would attend and cheer on the athletes.

“I remember going to games as a kid and they were so much fun,” Metheny said. “I want my boys to have the same experiences, and I really feel like it is better for my boys to go to those events than stay home and play video games or watch YouTube.”

As a teacher, she says it’s also good to see students excel in different areas and think about them more as a whole person.

Metheny’s family enjoys football, but she encourages community members to attend the sporting events in which they have interest.

“I think it makes our community stronger to part of these events,” she said.

Check the school’s website at http://rfhs.rfsd.k12.co.us for a calendar of events.