Vacant flagpoles reimagined

Across from the Thr3e coffeeshop and to the right of a large tree are some empty flagpoles that just stand up straight all day and display no flags.

However this may change within the next year.

ASB officers and security officer Greg Royal have been working on designing the flags but according to assistant principal Maija Thiel, the topic of the flags initially came up this year due to a student in the Gateway Program.

The Gateway Program is for special education self-contained classroom graduates. The program provides the graduates some further education in between being totally independent and being in high school.

“[Gateway] does things out in the community but they are still a part of our school. They come from all three high schools: Rogers, Emerald Ridge, Puyallup,” Thiel said. “They noticed that the Puyallup flag—the Viking flag—was missing from [the courtyard flagpoles.] So one of the students in there was really upset about that and whenever I would go by and visit, he would tell me ‘Mrs. Thiel, we need that flag and what do we do to get the flag.’ So I said I would work on it.”

Thiel went and talked to ASB, who found an old flag to fix up and hang.

“I was working with Greg and some other people about how to secure the flags and make sure they are not stolen again and then Greg came up with the idea of ‘hey not only should we fix those flags but we have these great flagpoles up front and it would be really cool if we had pennants or flags from the different feeder schools just to show how they are a part of us,’” Thiel said.

According to Royal, the flagpoles have been empty for the last 10 years.

“There is one main pole and five smaller poles and I am always thinking about school spirit and morale. I am an ex-military person and morale is huge in the organization,” Royal said. “I was thinking, we could put a nice Puyallup flag up there and I was thinking of possibly a purple flag with a giant ‘V’— a really big flag, three or four times the size of a normal United States flag.”

Royal figured the five other poles could be used for flags of feeder schools.

“We essentially have four schools that feed into PHS. We have Edgemont, Aylen, Kalles and we get about 25-30 students a year from Ferrucci. So we could have 80-90 Ferrucci students here at any given time,” Royal said. “I want them to be represented and so I was thinking that four of the flagpoles we could use a flag for each one of the junior highs and then we still have one more pole.”

With four poles for the junior highs, the fifth pole could be used to represent the elementary feeder schools.

“I was thinking about the feeder elementary schools and having pennants for the elementaries,” Royal said. “We are working on that with Jostens. Each one of our schools in the district has colors and has a mascot and we sent that to Jostens and they worked out some artwork and I am working with the ASB officers to get this rolling.”

Despite the fact that idea for the flagpoles was thought of months ago, it was unable to get started due to ASB and the Leadership class being occupied with Winter Wishes.

“Greg wanted to show school spirit because he is a spirited guy and he loves PHS just like the students do and so he came to us a couple months ago but we could not really sign papers or work with him because we were doing Winter Wishes work. Now he [has come] back to us and he has basically designed the flags,” ASB President Noah McDonald said.
Royal said that he has not seen any other school have flags or anything else to represent their feeder schools.

“My experience with schools is that I have been in every high school, every junior high, every middle school in Pierce County and Southern King County. I used to referee high school and middle school basketball and that gave me the opportunity to go to every school. That was the service area that we had and so you walk in the schools, you see different things. You get an idea for different things; I have not seen this in any other school,” Royal said. “I think [the flags] would be fantastic, I have not seen anyone else do it in the area.”

The flags will hopefully help new students create a connection to the school.

“It would give elementary school and junior high students [something] they can connect to in the high school, for sophomores especially,” McDonald said.
With luck, the flags will be up in time for the 2015-2016 school year.
“I would like to see it done sometime in May, before the school year is out. And to have them up by the first day of school next school year,” Royal said.

After the flags are implemented, Royal is hoping to begin working on a new project to help ease students into PHS: event nights for junior high schools.

“In the future, we are looking at having our feeder junior highs having event nights for them,” Royal said. “A sport night—it might be Aylen Night or Kalles Night or Edgemont Night. It would be one of our regular basketball games where [the junior high students] are invited to come. [We] might work things out to where their band plays or their choir sings the National Anthem. That is something we are looking at.”