The student news site of Atascocita High School

The Talon

The student news site of Atascocita High School

The Talon

The student news site of Atascocita High School

The Talon

Painting the Walls with Eagles’ True Calls

The administrative team works with Jostens graphic department to create inspiration throughout the building. (Graphics of designs provided by Jostens, Inc.)

Over the summer, the administrative team came together to hone in on the school’s true identity. Speaker and corporate trainer John A. Jenson partners with Jostens to travel the country and build schools’ culture and presence within their communities. When traveling to different schools, Jenson preaches the importance of having words or phrases that are representative of the school’s identity showcased across the building as reminders to students. 

A school’s identity lets everyone know what the campus, staff and students stand for. When the identity of the school is represented and carried out within the hallways, the school goes from a campus with thousands of students to a community that represents a principle. 

“It’s not just throwing a word on the wall, it’s more than that and it has to be,” Jenson said. “Can you create a culture around it? Can you celebrate it? Can you reward it?”

Jenson emphasizes that there are 720 days from the first day of freshman year to graduation to create a mindset of where to go next and how to get there. Students spend eight hours a day, five days a week at school, meaning the culture of the campus they attend shapes who they are and who they’re going to be when they throw their cap in the air on graduation day. In order for students to embrace their culture, it must be clearly defined and recognized. 

“Four things have to happen in order to have a clear identity,” Jenson said. “First you must define who you are, then you must design it. After that you introduce your campus to this concept and then you must live it everyday.” 

Jostens administered a survey to stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers and coaches regarding how they view the school. The survey entailed questions asking what it means to be an eagle, the attributes of an eagle that should be embodied by students, a word that describes the school’s culture and what is it that separates the school from others. 

This survey guides the school to define itself from an inside perspective. To review the results, Jenson discussed the 1,700 responses with the administrative staff. 

“I read through surveys and I didn’t hear a lot of trauma,” Jenson said. “I was amazed.” 

When presented the question “What does it mean to be an eagle?” The following responses were given by students, staff and parents:

To be driven

To be engaged

To be disciplined

To be focused

To go beyond your limits. 

Jenson’s eye was caught by the response “To go beyond your limits.” He acknowledged the fact that oftentimes when a mascot is an eagle, the school turns to the phrase “soar above.” Jenson proposed that there is a difference between soaring above and going beyond in that the word soaring above implies staying at one height while going beyond implies rising above that level. 

Before coming to the school, Jenson purchased a book on eagles to better understand the mascot of the campus and the attributes it represents. 

“Eagles have the ability to do one thing nobody else can,” Jenson said. “The eagle is the only bird that can rise above a storm.” 

The administrative team took note of Jenson’s findings and became hooked on the phrase “go beyond,” viewing it as an umbrella term for the school’s values. Each program—arts, athletics and academics—go beyond their limits in what they do on campus everyday. Teachers, counselors and staff members go beyond in their work on campus everyday. 

“We perform at such a high level in all that we do,” Sarah Williams, a teacher at the school since 2007, said. “Eagles are so diverse in what they offer to the world and there’s no limit to what our students can do.” 

Eagles in the wild are known to be boundless and able to reach a little higher to go above. The school strives to give its members a balance of comfort and drive in order to go beyond any idea of their potential and to push through any struggle.

“I came here from a third world country to be a teacher and got pushed to go beyond,” math instructional coach Itzel Burt said. “I ended up winning teacher of the year. It was the best experience of my life.”

Going beyond looks different for every person. The staff realized that each grade level should have a specific word or phrase that would guide them each year of high school. 

“If I came to a school that knew how I could go above, I would feel understood,” Principal William Falker said. “Going beyond as a staff is knowing what every student needs to get there.” 

Freshman year is when students lay their foundation for the next four years. They learn how to adapt. When they go into their sophomore year, they start to consider who they want to be. Once junior year rolls around, they are locking in their goals and taking that leap to become who they want to be. A student’s final year of high school gives them the responsibility of leading the school. The underclassmen look up to seniors and their experience in getting prepared to go out into the world. Each student should know what they can do to go beyond and that should be clearly communicated to them. 

“There should be a reminder of that on the way in and the way out,” Associate Principal Courtney Peterson said. “Students should know before they walk through the doors that they’re going to go beyond as an eagle.” 

Jenson brought in George Risavy, an illustrator at Jostens, to design ideas for what words would communicate the message of going beyond most effectively and more importantly where every student would see those messages everyday. Risavy, Jenson and the administrative team bounced ideas off of each other via a Zoom meeting. 

“I want everyone to know what they’re getting into when they walk into Atascocita High School,” Falker said. “I want other schools to think they can never go beyond us.” 

The administrative team continues to design and plan what will best convey that message. The essence of the school has now been defined, what comes next is visually stating it.   

“When you put the right things on the walls they start to say what you want them to say,” Jenson said. “You’re now bringing clarity to something that’s always existed. And it’s true.”

The new graphics will also provide safety measures for classrooms. (Graphics of designs provided by Jostens, Inc.)
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About the Contributor
Hayli Rubidoux
Hayli Rubidoux, Writer
This is Hayli Rubidoux’s first year on the newspaper staff. She enjoys writing stories from different angles and taking photos of events around the school. Hayli is also on the yearbook staff, this being her first year there as well. Although she’s a junior, this is only Hayli’s second year at AHS. She previously lived in Arizona and attended school there her freshman year. In her time away from school, she enjoys going roller skating with friends and watching TV with her mom. Hayli is looking forward to being able to tell everyone’s story through journalism and put out news people not only are entertained by, but that makes them care.

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