Teachers, community members bring ‘Rival Rock’ to Ross Beatty High School

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — The latest addition to Ross Beatty High School’s campus landscape will be hard to miss for students and visitors alike.

The Cass County Road Commission — with help from members of the community — delivered an 8.5-ton boulder to the high school campus Wednesday afternoon.

The rock was brought over with the goal of creating a sense of community within the school, according to assistant principal Lindsay Gorham.

Prior to the start of Wednesday’s home football game against Brandywine, members of the Cassopolis football team painted the rock blue with the school’s “C” logo.

“The essence of that sense of community is spirit,” said Ross Beatty teacher Joe Westrate, who was instrumental in getting the boulder on campus. “Whether it’s robotics, drama club or some other activity, we feel this rock can be utilized by different groups to generate community spirit. We’re excited at the idea of rival schools coming to paint the rock.”

The rock’s journey to the Cassopolis campus began thanks to the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports planning that took place over the summer. The team was mapping out what to do for Culture Week when teacher Joseph Westrate first proposed the idea of painting individual rocks.

“We have been planning exciting events and starting new traditions for our student body to participate in and be a part of,” Gorham said.

When Kurt Westrate of Westrate Tree Farms heard about their goals, he thought the boulder sitting on the farm would be perfect for what the PBIS team was looking for. The boulder had been sitting on the property ever since Joe Westrate’s grandfather excavated it 40 years ago to make room for tillable land.

Hauling an 8.5-ton boulder is no easy task but Matt Resanovich and Johnny Richey were up for the challenge.

Resanovich — who works with the road commission — picked up the boulder and moved it onto the trailer. Johnny Richey — owner of Johnny’s Custom Construction — transported it to the school, where Resanovich removed it from the trailer to where it is sitting now.

According to Gorham, Resanovich — a Ross Beatty alumnus — helped transport the boulder on his day off.

“We’re grateful for all of the support we have received to make this happen,” Gorham said. “It was a collaborative, community effort. They were so happy to do it for the community.”

Dubbed “Rival Rock,” Gorham envisions the rock becoming a centerpiece for rivalry traditions as well as something classrooms and clubs can utilize for projects.

“This is exciting,” she said. “We feel this is a historical moment for the school. We hope it sets a tradition for years to come.”