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For Whom the Bell Tolls

South introduces Bell Tower plan to increase school spirit in multiple

Assistant Principal John Sedler rides the new victory bell into the Winter Sports Assembly on Dec. 3.


by danny jones
For a school only in its 12th year, South has a lot to be proud of. State-leading EOC scores, state championships representing three different sports, and an excellent music program are all highlights of the first dozen years within South’s walls.
Indeed, the problem for principal Dr. Dale Longenecker has not been getting the most out of his students. The issue is getting the student body to realize how their hard work is paying off.
“This is like the Disneyland of high schools,” Longenecker said. “We want our kids to feel good [about their accomplishments].”
Enter the bell tower project, which became a legitimate enterprise on Dec. 3 during a school wide initiation ceremony. A brief video preceeded the bell’s entrance into the gym, and the bell was rung by the captains of each fall squad that won conference.
According to Longenecker, the idea for the bell tower, sprung from conversations between the administration, Leadership Council and STUCO, was in large part formulated over the summer in an effort to reward student achievement and help create the unique individuality South has longed for since its inception in 1998.  
“Over time, we’ve developed our own identity,” said Longenecker. “This is just a piece of that puzzle.”
If all goes according to plan, the tower’s influence could affect student morale on multiple fronts. Those in charge hope that the tower serves not only as a school icon, but a reminder of South’s successes on a comprehensive level. 
“We want our school to have an association with the bell,” said Ethan Robb, junior, who, along with fellow juniors Haley Shelton and Barrett Hudson, is spearheading STUCO’s involvement with the bell tower. “It’s something that we can all get behind.”
Some support has been hindered, though, by the tower’s anticipated expense reports. According to rough estimates by Longenecker and STUCO, the final tally for tower construction could total up to $50,000, but both sources were quick to point out that a large portion of the costs would come from fundraisers.
STUCO, who plays a large part in the financial aspects of the project, says money for the bell tower could come from a number of sources outside the district, including corporations and private donors. The student body has even been part of the equation, helping to foot the bill by participating in events like the iPad raffle earlier in the month.   
Because of these possibilities, Longenecker remained positive about the tower’s financial situation.
“If [our school] wants a bell tower, we’ll get a bell tower,” he said.
It remains to be seen, but the completion of the tower would be a monumental event in South’s history, not only changing the landscape of the campus, but possibly changing how students feel about their school.
“We want kids with swagger,” Longenecker said. “Hopefully the bell tower will help us find it.”

Megan Hughes is in her third year as publications adviser at Park Hill South High School. She currently advises the View newsmagazine, South Paw yearbook and LitMag.