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Countdown to kickoff

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Hickory Ridge High School gets jump start on school year tailgating at football games

By Christie Barlow
[email protected]

A constant chatter could be heard as crowds of Hickory Ridge students waited for the start of the school’s second football game.

Days before classes began, Hickory Ridge High School Executive Council was on hand at Jay M. Robinson High School to tailgate with their future classmates. Parents, students and even a few teachers strolled around the grounds meeting new classmates and hanging out with friends.

“It’s a good way to get people involved in something before school starts,” said Alex Beeker, a member of the Hickory Ridge cheerleading squad. “We really want the crowd to be involved and get out there and show what we can do.”

Students were a sea of blue and white, as almost the entire crowd showed up in their Hickory Ridge T-shirts. Many faces matched the shirts as students sat down to get their faces painted in support of the football team. Faces were made up like bulls, covered entirely in blue and had the high school’s initials neatly painted onto a cheek to encourage the Ragin’ Bulls. Students really got into the spirit of football season playing touch football, corn hole and bocce ball. Students laughed, joked and played games before taking to the stands to root on their classmates.

Plans for the tailgate have been in the works for months, and it was great to finally see the tailgate and students come together, said Nikki Potter, a member of Hickory Ridge’s Executive Council. The student council is planning to host tailgates before each of the football team’s home football games. They hope student participation will be big enough that it can become a regular event. Jamie Dyer, the advisor to Hickory Ridge’s student council, said the goal of the tailgates was to unite students for the first time, and let them interact outside of the classroom.

Potter was excited about getting students together and said this was one of the first times that students were able to feel like they were a part of the school.
“We’re all here for the same reasons — raising school spirit,” Potter said. “We all have something in common. A lot of kids don’t want to come back to school the first day, but this gives them something to look forward to.”

Excitement built as students made their way to the stands and took up residence in “the bullpen,” Hickory Ridge’s name for its fan section, and counted down to kickoff against Robinson. Hickory Ridge would lose the game 23 to 7, but the loss didn’t bring down students anticipation about the upcoming school year.

With the start of school just days away, students were looking forward to setting foot inside their new school for the first time. Dyer was hoping the tailgate would expose students to some familiar faces and help start the school year off on the right note.

“We had an open house Wednesday and it felt like we had every since student there,” Dyer said. “This is the first (tailgate) but we’ve had a huge turnout. They’re excited about all areas. They’re excited about the upcoming year.”

• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.


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