Cassopolis High School kicks off school year with Culture Week

Published 5:13 pm Monday, August 30, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Cassopolis Ross Beatty High School kicked off the 2021-2022 academic year in style on Monday.

For students, teachers and staff, the first day marked the beginning of Culture Week at the school, which ended with the entire student body participating in team-building games in the school gymnasium.

“I’m excited to see the kids,” said Ross Beatty assistant principal Lindsay Gorham. “They seemed really excited to be back, too. Being at home was tough for some of our kids. We need that socialization, that’s part of the educational process.”

The games included a javelin crawl relay — where partners blew air through their straws to guide the ping pong ball to the next set of partners; Chopsticks — where each set of partners had to move a beach ball using the chopsticks (pool noodles) to the other end of the gym; Multi-legged race — groups of six had to tie every other set of legs together and figure out how to walk effectively as a group; Pass The Hula Hoop — each grade stood in a line and held hands. The teams had to pass the hula hoop through the line without breaking the physical bond at any time.

The Ranger Renaissance Games were the first of five activities the school has planned for Culture Week, which was created to support this year’s “Ranger Renaissance” theme.

“We feel that a positive school culture is what we have to focus on,” Gorham said. “COVID really turned things upside down. Kids are resilient, so we’re trying to focus on that and find the positive in all of these changes.”

Starting the school year in person has been a welcome challenge for a high school staff that is relatively new to the school.

“Essentially, our guidance office is brand new,” Gorham said. “Our main office staff is brand new to their new positions as well. We’re just really excited to be able to have kids back in person. [Distance learning] was an option but if families chose to do that, they had to commit to a full semester.”

Gorham — a sixth-grade teacher and part-time middle and high school assistant principal last year — is now the full-time assistant high school assistant principal.

“The cool thing is that I had a lot of these kids in elementary school,” she said. “The relationships have already been created, so it’s not like I’m meeting a bunch of unfamiliar faces for the first time. It’s been the opposite which is kind of nice. I hope that was kind of a relief for them.”

Gorham never saw herself transitioning from teacher to principal, but she is enjoying the process and looking forward to a new year of learning.

“I love it,” she said. “I really do. Teaching is different at all levels. There are so many good things but this is fun. This has been fun so far.”