The Happiest School on Earth: Dragons return to campus for the 2021-2022 school year


Kami Kada

Students make their way to class on their first day of school.

The back-to-school season has officially begun and the Dragons at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) kicked off the school year with a Disney-themed first day. Amid the past shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, August 25th, 2021 marked a huge step towards normalcy as for the first time in a year and a half, Foothill Tech is at full student capacity and classroom operation.

Kimberly Fickerson

Foothill Tech’s Associated Student Body (ASB) used Disneyland’s classic phrase denoting it as “The Happiest Place on Earth” and modified it to be the new motto for the 2021-2022 school year. The motto reads “The Happiest School on Earth” and could be found among the other Disney-related decorations including balloon arches, tablecloths, streamers and Mickey Mouse-ear cutouts.

Students reunite with friends and classmates in the quad on the first day back. (Kami Kada)

According to ASB Advisor Melanie ‘Captain’ Lindsey, planning for back-to-school events and activities had started in July. Lindsey said ASB’s main focus when planning was, “the feeling they wanted for the day,” and that they wanted students to be “happy.”

The overall energy of the school day reflected the emotions of students, teachers and faculty alike. Students from every grade level could be seen laughing, talking and engaging with each other as though no time passed at all. Teachers quickly bounced back into their regular routines and the annual icebreakers continued as usual. Administrators could also be seen popping into classrooms and cruising around campus greeting students at break. 

“I found today to be amazing and was really looking forward to meeting new people,” explained Francis English ‘24, “the teachers, decorations and gifts were all amazing and definitely made the vibe very welcoming.” Many freshmen and sophomores experienced their first day on campus this week resulting in lots of excited, nervous energy from the entire student body. 

Donavan Hart ‘22 added, “I think we’re going to be in school the whole year and hopefully things will line up more with masks and Covid as the year goes on.”

“Things were a lot easier this year because there were fewer obstacles in terms of class sizes and organization […] the only thing limiting us was masks,” says Foothill Tech Principal Russel Gibbs as he gave insight into the organization of this school year and how it differs from last year’s online-hybrid schedule.

Seniors are happy to be back on campus for their last year of high school. (Kami Kada)

Without the option for students to complete their school work solely through Zoom and Canvas, the logistics became simpler and the only remaining complication became COVID-19 precautions including masks, contact tracing, etc. 

Overall, the day proved to be successful in reuniting students, teachers and administrators with Foothill Tech’s unique and beloved campus culture after many months spent trapped behind a computer screen. Although the pandemic is long from over, the spirit of the Foothill Tech Dragons perseveres to truly create “The Happiest School on Earth”. 

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