By now there aren’t many things not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and that includes the educational sector. Ever since the pause in the school season, area schools have been doing all they can to calm the stormy, uncharted waters.
“Ever since the school closure started, we’ve been trying to find ways to try to help find ways for our community to come together and get back some type of normalcy,” said ADM Director of Innovative Learning and Communication Travis Wilkins. “We decided last week to leave our stadium lights on and we wanted to recognize students even further on many fronts and those impacted. Our attention started bubbling up creating a weekly event to give something for the community to look forward to. That’s our main goal here.”
The Light Up Iowa campaign features stadium lights across all playing fields lighting up one minute for every day school is not in session. Wilkins said while the ADM Community School District has been participating in the program, they wanted to expand on it.
Starting on Friday, April 24 and continuing throughout what would have been the end of the school year, ADM will be putting on Tiger Pride Drive events. These events will be seen through the end of May as a way to keep spirits up.
“This speaks volumes to our community,” Wilkins said. “Whether it’s academically or athletically, there’s a standard of excellence. We try to live our mission and operate at a high level and this goes a long way to helping that.”
The Tiger Pride Drive will take place starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 24 and will be a weekly occurrence. It will co-exist alongside the Light Up Iowa movement to, as Wilkins mentioned, bring some sort of normalcy back to the lives of the community.
“We wanted to utilize the Friday night time and our idea really shifted to making it a community pride drive that encompasses everybody within the community,” said Wilkins. “Each week we’ll come together as a community and also try and recognize students, teachers, and various different groups.”
To help really bring that home Wilkins and the rest of the ADM staff created themes behind every Friday night bout, including Tiger Pride Night (April 24), Cancelled Spring Sports and Activities Night (May 1), Teachers Appreciation Night (May 8), Spring Sports and Activities Senior Night (May 15), Senior Night (May 22), and All Student Celebration Night (May 29).
Wilkins went on to mention that while the Tiger Pride Drives are for the community at large, it’s important to recognize those who are being highlighted on each particular Friday night.
“We’re asking whoever the theme is for those involved to decorate their vehicles and for those not involved in the theme to not decorate their vehicles,” said Wilkins. “We want to be clear who is being recognized.”
The parade route itself will pass by the football field parking lot and the baseball and softball fields up Tiger Drive. It will continue on down N Avenue and will head East on Cottage St followed by connecting with South 4th Street and back onto Tiger Drive.
“We wanted a route that was simple and stayed close to the high school,” said Wilkins. “Since this revolves around the school we wanted to stay close and continue to highlight the students, teachers, and everybody at ADM High School as well as the community.”
The Tiger Pride Drive will feature another familiar aspect of ADM athletics, the annual boom of the football cannon. The same boom that is fired off for every football touchdown will now be set to notify the end of the festivities for the Tiger Pride Drives every Friday night in May starting May 1. One thing that Wilkins also pointed out was the time change that will occur from May 1 through May 29. While tonight’s festivities will begin at 8 p.m., the rest of the Tiger Pride Drives will begin at 8:30 p.m.
Wilkins also stressed for all who wish to attend to not congregate and practice social distancing while still having a good time.
Also part of the event will be yard signs and T-shirts available for purchase with Tiger Pride logos on them.
“We want everybody to be able to show their pride and their support as much as possible,” said Wilkins. “We’re lucky to have a community like this where many want to show their support.”
The benefits of the Tiger Pride sale go beyond just a display of pride, but also help out another strong cause as well. With every purchase, $3 will be donated to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry.
“When the school closures first happened, before we were able to obtain waivers to provide meals in Desoto and Minburn, the Good Samaritan Food Pantry stepped up and provided those meals for us. They didn’t miss a beat and we want to help them out and support them now.”
T-shirt and yard sign sales started at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 24. Yard signs will be available through May 1. T-shirts will be sold through May 29.
For more information about any of the Tiger Pride events, visit https://sites.google.com/adm.k12.ia.us/admtigerpride/admtigerpride?authuser=0.
Keep watching for photos from the first Tiger Pride Drive at www.adelnews.com and in the April 30 Dallas County News.