Mustang Strong rallies students and staff

Emily Waite, Senior Reporter

On March 16, 2022, Manitou Springs High School Student Council put on an event called Mustang Strong in order to help rebuild the school culture in MSHS. The students and staff at MSHS attended a speech from Laymon Hicks and then had a debrief in small groups led by a StuCo member.

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic hit, MSHS school culture has been declining. It has affected rules, trust in students and the relationship between students and staff. “Within the past couple of months, with the sexual assualt cases and attempted threat at our school, it brought a negative impact to our school culture. Mustang Strong was to try to connect students and build culture within our school community,” said Macey LaSarre (12).

The schedule for this day was a little bit different than a normal Late Start Wednesday. The beginning of the day was dedicated to an hour long speech from youth motivational speaker, Laymon Hicks. “I felt like everyone could connect to at least a part of his speech, if not the whole thing. He had a lot of really valuable ideas. I loved the way that our students and our staff all came together to resonate with those,” said Assistant Principal, Anna Conrad.

Hicks told many stories about his life and did many interactive activities with the audience. “I loved how interactive he was and how every time I looked around, every single person was either laughing or engaged, which is something that’s really hard to do,” said Student Body President, Abigail Parker (12).

After the assembly, each student was placed into different debriefing groups led by StuCo members to help students think of ways to help improve the school culture at MSHS. In these groups, StuCo members went through different activities in order to really think about what needs to change. “I enjoyed going to the groups after listening to the speaker. It helped me to think about what he said in a different way than I normally would,” said Sami Benge-Kulzer (11).

It also helped students get to know each other since they may not have known each other before these groups. “I don’t have a ton of strong relationships like the underclassmen,” Parker said, “so it was cool to get to hear different perspectives and even with some of the seniors that were in my group.”

One of the activities from the debriefing groups included writing what you liked and what you thought could be improved at MSHS on a notecard. These cards were then sorted into different categories about what needs to change at MSHS and then given to Manitou’s administration to help them develop what the next step is to continue to improve the school culture.

Overall, Mustang Strong was a first step to improving school culture at MSHS. StuCo is continuing to plan activities for the future to continue this process. I think that Mustang Strong was a great opportunity for us to really think about where we want to go and what we want to be important to all of us here and how we move forward together,” said Conrad.