By Ruthanne Johnson
MONTE VISTA—A new random drug-test policy went into effect this year for athletes at Monte Vista High School.
“The program came about because parents approached the school board more than a year ago wanting drug testing for their kids,” said Monte Vista High School principal Scott Wiedeman. The policy took more than a year to implement as staff examined other schools’ drug-testing policies and consulted with officials before making the change.
The goal is not to reprimand, said Wiedeman, but to educate the students and get them help if needed. Parents whose teens do not participate in school athletics can also request their child be included in random drug testing if the parent is concerned about drug use.
The high school also implemented new cell phone and backpack policies. Cell phones are not allowed in the classroom, and backpacks must remain in student lockers during school. “Not having cell phones in the classroom will help prevent interference of instruction and cut down the potential for bullying on social media during school,” Wiedeman said. Keeping backpacks in lockers will help with safety in the event of an emergency and offers less temptation for students wanting to carry contraband items such as cell phones
On a lighter note, high school students served up hot dogs to family and community members in front of the school on Thursday, Aug. 23 as a way of kicking off the 2018-19 school year. Some 200 students, parents and community members showed up to enjoy the free meal and camaraderie. “It was our student council’s idea and such a great way to start to the school year,” Wiedeman said. “Everyone just pulled up their cars and we fired up the grill and sat in the back of trucks and talked and had a good time.”
Students also decided on their 2018 homecoming theme— “Decades”---which embraces the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. The homecoming parade, complete with student-decorated floats, will roll down Monte Vista streets on Friday, Sept. 21, rather than the Thursday before homecoming. The change, Wiedeman explained, is to try and involve more of the community. The parade starts at 4 p.m. at the Rio Grande Savings and Loan and ends at the football stadium. “We’ll have a tailgate party set up there with barbequed burgers and hot dogs before the game.”
The homecoming king and queen coronation will also be different. Rather than being held on Monday during school, the coronation will be on Friday during the homecoming game’s halftime. The change harkens back to the event’s traditional roots, Wiedeman said.
The Monte Vista Pirates play the Rocky Ford Meloneers for the homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
One unfortunate consequence of changing the parade to Friday is that Marsh Elementary students will no longer be able to sit in front of their school on Thursday to watch the floats go by. To make up for the loss, high school athletes volunteered to read to the elementary students on Monday, Sept. 24 while wearing their athletic jerseys.
In academic news, the high school is partnering with Adams State University this year to provide students with a college prep advisor. The advisor, Darren Romero, will be at Monte Vista High School two to three times a week to help students become workforce and college ready.