West Texas ignites school spirit

West Texas High School burns WT torch in Stinnett
Tabitha Fleming
Staff Writer

Stinnett may be a small town but it's definitely big on school spirit. Last night, the community came out in force for the lighting of the “WT.” The wooden structure, which is a combination of the letters that stand for West Texas has been the solution for the Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips CISD since a bonfire disaster in the 1990s. Often the new traditions put in place after accidents like the one that happened in the 1990s are lackluster or empty shells of their former glory. That's not the case in Stinnett where and eager crowd gathered for the lighting of senior torches, the application of symbolic war paint, and eventually the lighting of the WT.
This spirit filled celebration is one of the things that makes PSP an amazing school for students. The parent support and community support is something to be marvelled at. “It's a huge tradition, I've been coming for years,” said Miranda Martinez, “We have a lot of spirit here and it's just fantastic,” It truly is a fantastic school to be able to support.
The new gym is near completion and soon the multimillion dollar construction project will be open to the public. A nice gym or nice field isn't what the igniting of the spirit of WT is all about, “It's just nice, the painting of the faces, you know, sending them off to war,” said Sherry Hopkins, grandmother. She was referring to the practice of applying 'war paint' on the faces of Seniors as a sort of right of passage.
The event is something that is quite solemn and ends with family photos, with all the parents smiling and proud of their children who will all to soon be leaving the local highschool in pursuit of bigger dreams.
“It's really about the war paint, the football game, the cheerleaders we have all these cool traditions,” said Heather Hopkins. Her daughter is a cheerleader and also plays on the volleyball team. With the cheerleaders in place to lead the crowd in a few cheers, it's hard no to recognize the good will and energy among the teachers and parents, brothers and sisters, moms and dads.
“We really excited about the school spirit this year,” said cheerleading coach Shannon Harrah, “it's a rejuvenating effect, everyone has really been supportive of the students.”
An obviously excited young man, Asher Wells summed it up matter of factly. When asked what his favorite part of the event was, he said, “You light it [the WT] on fire.” That's exactly what they did, and Asher's father, Alan Wells, who serves as the Volunteer Fire Chief along with his wife Gena who also volunteers for the Fire Department in Stinnett was on hand just because of that fire. “We're just here to make sure there's no issue, and once the even is over, we'll put out the fire.” he explained.
These are the sort of people that should be found at weekend sporting events. Families that live and work in this close-knit community are exactly what makes WT stand out among small towns, this sort of comraderie doesn't happen everywhere.
Before the festivities concluded, David & Kathy McEntyre, who direct the band were able to take a brief minute to talk about the talented musicians. “This is a lot of practice for them for our fall marching band competition,” David said, “They work really hard, and we have some very talented kids.”
The spirit in the PSP CISD didn't end when the pep rally was over, nor did the obvious friendliness and welcoming attitude of all the WT parents, booster club members, community members or friends. The WT was ignited, and the school spirit was decidedly fueled. When asked if he had anything he wanted to say about the students or parents following this enthusiastic event, he simply smiled as if to say the parents and students had spoken louder than words with their presence and support.