Reconnecting the Amador Community

The AV Art Club paints their Centennial Mural to celebrate 100 years of Amador.
The AV Art Club paints their Centennial Mural to celebrate 100 years of Amador.
AV Journalism
Amador+cheerleaders+show+off+their+sprit+that+has+stood+throughout+the+last+century.
Amador cheerleaders show off their sprit that has stood throughout the last century. (AV Yearbook)
Let’s talk about spirit

As Amador Valley High School prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the campus works to prepare to welcome students, teachers, staff, alumni, and other community members to a weekend full of events. As the campus prepares for the events, many students hope that this event will help students on campus feel more connected to the Amador Community.

Even+after+the+pandemic%2C+Amador+teachers+continue+to+put+on+historical+celebrations+like+1920s+Day.
Even after the pandemic, Amador teachers continue to put on historical celebrations like 1920s Day. (AV Journalism)
What happened to Amador?

Students today are different from Amador students in the past. Today’s students are all part of the “COVID student community”.

In March of 2020, the State of California closed schools due to the COVID pan- demic. At the time, schools thought they were leaving for weeks. Amador did not fully reopen to all students until Fall 2021.

During this time, enrollment in public schools dropped and students became more and more isolated.

According to PACE, Califronia schools were hit especially hard. “Enrollment dropped by a record 2.6 percent in 2020–21 and an additional almost 2 percent in 2021–22, resulting in a loss of 270,000 students statewide.”

It has now been two years since we returned and students are now living their “new normal”. Teachers, cubs, and classes work to try to reconnect students to the Amador community and reinvigorate a school known for campus spirit.

AV Art teacher Michael Doyle has been at Amador for 20 years and he has seen the changes in school spirit and connectedness.

“I have seen spirit rise and fall, and I think it’s rising again. When I first came [to Amador], there was definitely more paritciaption in spirit days. You often seen more student wearing purple and I think [the spirit] is slowly coming back,” said Doyle.

Leadership students and the ASB are working hard to increase student participation attending and participating in school events and dressing up for Spirit Days. From the widespread of posters to the sprit wear t-shirt flash sales, leadership is also offering more opportunities for students who might not have been connected, to be hyped about Amador spirit.

“We’d like more participation so it’s not more ‘ugh there’s a spirit day,’ but rather more of a ‘yay there’s a spirit day.’ For the people in leadership, spirit days are fun be- cause it’s nice to see everyone dressed up and engaged, and I think there’s been a divide after COVID, within our community, so it would be nice to see everybody on the same page,” said, ASB President Kacie Hu (‘24).

Don+Deckout+Days+always+bring+purple+and+gold+to+campus.
Don Deckout Days always bring purple and gold to campus. (Barbara Henriquez)
Decking out on Don Deckout Days

Other groups on campus are trying to help build spirit as well.

“We see a lot of what is going on around campus because we are always covering stories about it. When we got our Editors together last year, we decided we’d create a fun t-shirt we call the “AV Originals T-Shirt” to give students another option for the Don Deckout Days. Not only does it have a cool logo, but we were also about to take a passive aggressive shot at our rivals when we remind them that we are “the original” high school in Pleasanton. Between the class t-shirts, ASB T-Shirts, and our AV Originals TShirts, there are no excuses for students not to be “decked out” now,” said AVJ Business Manager Anita Gautum (‘24).

AV Spirit days and Don Deckout Days are chosen by AV Leadership to help supoort school teams and help students feel the sense of connection and community around the campus.

“I remember when I first started teaching at Amador. Teachers and students went crazy on Spirit Days. It was so fun seeing what people came dressed up in. Teachers and classes competed to see who could be the most spirited and the competitions were taken very seriously. It was a lot of fun and I hope we are on our way back to there because it made campus a really fun place to be,” said AV Media Art teacher Wendy Connelly.

Don Deckout Fridays also help people feel connected with their peers. Some stu- dents need support, especially in the start of the year, and dressig up for spirit days helps students meet new people.

“It’s really not hard to do it and it really shows that you’re a part of the community and you’re a part of the campus. When you are a part of a community, you feel like you have support and it’s like this is out way of trying to show everybody that we are sup- porting each other and we are supporting you,” said ASB Treasurer Sydney Head (‘24).

In addition to Spirit days, there are lots of other ways to feel connected to campus as well. Amador teachers have always been dedicated to trying to raise school spirit on campus.

“Throughout my department and coaching outside of PE we preach to our students that there is something for everyone at Amador: classes, clubs, sports, band, the arts, drama- anything you want to do, you can find a way to do it on campus,” said AV PE teacher Mary Scavone.

Amadors+20%2B+club+boasts+20%2B+teachers+who+have+taught+at+Amador+for+over+two+decades.
Amador’s 20+ club boasts 20+ teachers who have taught at Amador for over two decades. (Zaynah Shah)
Increasing awareness of activities on campus

Posters on campus are one form of communication between leadership and students. Throughout the years posters were how people found out about spirit days, rallies, announcements and other things around campus. After covid leadership started to fall back into instagram.

“I’d like to see more people participate, and I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s declined, if it’s that we used to have posters around campus that would remind us and maybe it’s the lack of that visual on campus that everybody is just doing on Instagram and for those people that aren’t on Instagram aren’t aware of what’s happening,” said AV teacher Shannon Heller.

“We’re really publicizing clubs, sports, student groups getting involved with the parade and then getting involved with Pigskin, which they already are. That way, stu- dents can see that this group that I belong with or have similar interests with are being represented. It will hopefully encourage them to participate more as well,” said ASB President Kacie Hu (‘24).

Cheerleaders+on+campus+bring+spirit+to+football+games+and+ensure+that+Amador+is+ready+to+cheer+on+their+team.
Cheerleaders on campus bring spirit to football games and ensure that Amador is ready to cheer on their team. (AV Journalism)
Why do we need to reconnect?

With a student body as large Amador Valley’s, it is important to be connected as a campus community. It is very easy for students to feel lost and alone with almost 2,800 students on campus. It is important for students to find other people on campus to con- nect with because this feeling of community is what makes Amador great.

“Being connected to human beings is Important and I feel sometimes in our modern era it’s easy to become disconnected but disconnection from our other human beings makes us sad and makes us anxious and makes us depressed and if we could as a com- munity find more ways to connect with each other, we’d be less stressed, less anxious, less sad like I think we as a school need to commit to find ways to connect to each other. We don’t have all the answers, nobody has all the answers, but we can certainly try some things and see how they work,” said AV Art teacher Merilee Fisher.

Amador Valley has a 100 year long history steeped in traditions that have long con- nected the Pleasanton community. As tradition change and our community evolves one thing remains certain, we will always be stronger than ever, but better together.

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