Critical Analysis of Traditions at Rockford Area Schools

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Whenever I visit other schools, I am always interested in the traditions and rituals that help establish that school’s identity and what they value. Rockford Area Schools offers many traditions that bind our school community into a family and build a healthy environment.

Most high schools have traditions around sports, for example. We are just finishing homecoming season where, at Rockford Area Schools, it impacts not only Rockford High School but our middle and elementary schools as well. The homecoming traditions in our district are a little than other schools. We do have pep fests, but in all three buildings where the Homecoming court, band, cheerleaders and sports teams’ captains visit students as role models and celebrate being a “Rocket.” Dress up days are another difference—each building determines their theme for the day for the week. The after-game fireworks are put on through donations of parents and community residents. This year the students at Rockford High School overwhelmingly named Jack Bryngleson and Karly Jensen Homecoming King and Queen. Jack is a senior who is fighting a type of bone cancer and Karly is his girlfriend. The students and staff are rallying to support both of them by helping to create lasting memories that can be cherish forever.

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Each school in our district has a variety of traditions specific to their school. At Rockford Middle School Center for Environmental Studies, student’s history, beliefs and hopes have been recorded annually through a tile mural project. This tradition was started in the 1994-95 school year with an original mural depicting a map of Minnesota. Another favorite tradition is the annual Deep Portage trip in the fall, now in its 23rd year. This tradition involves sixth grade students on a field trip to the Deep Portage Learning Center in Hackensack for three days. During the day, the student learn to canoe, use compasses and contour maps, do rock wall climbing, hike to the treetop tower, and other activities. At night, the students participate in nocturnal hunter games, story-telling and sing-alongs. The annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Showcase is a newer tradition that started after the school became a STEM magnet school over eight years ago.

At the elementary school, there is a permanent art collection throughout the building that showcases the creativity of our elementary students as well as our arts magnet program. The school has been an arts magnet school for 14 years. The school hosts many events that have developed into tradition like Family Fun Nights, spotlight concerts and the spring Arts and Academic Showcase to name a few.

Another tradition that started in 2011 is our Distinguished Alumni and Honorary Diploma program. The Distinguished Alumni recipients are selected annually based on outstanding professional and personal successes, as well as achievements in national, regional, or statewide prominence either in their professional fields or through their involvement in civic, cultural or charitable activities. An Honorary Diploma is annually conferred to an individual who demonstrates high standards of excellence in their personal and professional achievements as a way of honoring the distinguished citizen's contribution to the district.

A long-standing tradition, planned by alumni, the Rockford High School All-alumni Reunion, scheduled for the first Saturday in October. Held annually for many decades, it enables people to reconnect with friends over lunch time.

I could go on. But this is just a short list of many traditions that Rockford Area Schools offer.

Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become.

As leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear. Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.

At Rockford Area Schools, we work to incorporate traditions that went beyond simply ‘school spirit’ to truly emphasize the school’s mission around academics. We are proud of the traditions we offer, leaving cherished memories, a sense of belonging and celebrating the things that really matter in life.

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Critical Analysis of Traditions at Rockford Area Schools. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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