Senior vs Facilitator Games: Culture Through Competition

Senior-Facilitator Games at NTH@C

By Luke Armstrong, Emily Petty, and Zane Porter

Texas is known for football and Friday Night Lights. The players and coaches prepare for the weekly battle and the cheerleaders, bands, students, parents, and fans ready themselves to cheer on their team and occasionally talk trash to (and about) the opposing team.
New Tech High @ Coppell has a tradition of encouraging the senior class and the facilitators to field teams for multiple athletic events throughout the year. The senior class is responsible for planning and getting approval for the games. Last Wednesday, the games began with the first of many competitions—football. While the game is seven-on-seven, one-hand touch football, the game is no less intense than tackle football and requires passionate, athletic play. The facilitators got the best of the seniors this year, but that only motivates the seniors to work together to try and beat the facilitators in the basketball game this December.
Facilitators see the games as an opportunity to build culture and camaraderie with the learners, but also see room for the games to grow into something that incorporates more learners and facilitators. Sophomore facilitator and interception extraordinaire, Clay Greenwalt, explains that the games are “something that is unique, something that not many schools do, but it builds camaraderie through sports that we don’t really have at our school.”  He goes on to explain how the games are “a bonding experience that helps bridge the gap between facilitators and learners that we wouldn’t get another way...having memories to look back on and build positive memories to point to.”
One of the facilitator quarterbacks, Brian Hussey, believes that the games “give a lasting memory of high school for the seniors. It emphasizes relationships between the learners and facilitators that allow us to compete together without the hierarchical, facilitator to learner dynamic.” The learners feel empowered when they are able to look back on their relationship with their facilitators as one of learning, growing, and competing without the burden of the traditional learner-to-facilitator separation.

Learner’s Perspective

By Emily Petty

To put it simply, the NTH@C Class of 2017 does things differently. We have always taken the rules given to us and morphed them to fit what we want them to say. The senior-facilitator football game is no exception.
In the past, the game has just been a football game with no other learner roles. This year, however, we were able to incorporate a wider variety of learners by adding different roles like cheerleading. I enjoyed being able to help add this aspect to the game and had fun involving my peers.
As cheerleaders, we were able to create cheers and posters that encouraged the players and made the game more exciting. Despite the expected senior loss, the seniors were able to come together and bond over a shared experience and goal.
The senior-facilitator games are an opportunity for us to grow as a class and to help build our school’s culture. We want to continue a valuable tradition, and hopefully, gain some bragging rights over the facilitators.

Learner’s Perspective

By Luke Armstrong

As head coach, I felt like I took some responsibility for my players. I wanted to make sure that everyone got to play and that no one walked away feeling like they weren’t a part of the team. I could immediately feel the energy from each and every player. We all had a strong desire to win on Wednesday, so I did my best to harness that energy and performance into a fun time with a win.
Though we did not win, I know we enjoyed it and felt like we really left our mark. For most of the process, I had a surreal feeling that it was finally our turn to play the facilitators. We all had a great time getting ready for the game and thinking of things we could do that would be fun for all of us, regardless of if we won the game.

So what are the next steps for the senior-facilitator games?

Emily Petty worked hard to add more seniors to the activities by including cheerleaders, and Rachel Printz and Trent Holland found their place as the play-by-play announcers. During the game, they referenced Mr. Greenwalt’s Membean obsession and Ms. Bence’s Zumba classes (although, she teaches yoga).
When asked about how the games could be improved, Spanish facilitator, Caroline Daniel, said, “It would be nice to have some academic games to go along with the athletic events.” She goes on to say that the senior-facilitator games “are a valuable tradition, and we could guide the seniors to include more learners through a wider variety of activities.” Math facilitator, Anthony Hufford added that “the games are good and valuable,” and he asked “How could we involve those learners who are not athletic? We could include an academic decathlon or some sort of other academic game.”

At New Tech High @ Coppell, we are invested in the process of learning and growing. We understand that part of the learning process is building quality relationships and creating authentic, real-world products. This means that we need to constantly reassess and revise our work in order to keep what is valuable and reconsider what might become better with revision or possibly need removed.


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