New teachers learn of Golden Tiger traditions
On the outside of West Elementary School is a sign that reads “the tradition begins here.” Last year’s first-grade class proved that was true when they created the book “Golden Tiger Traditions.”
This year when new employees of the Russellville City Schools system went through orientation, they were presented with a copy of the book so they can learn about the school.
RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said he wanted to introduce the Russellville traditions to new employees to help them have an idea early on what Russellville is all about.
“There were things here forever that I didn’t know, like the torch,” Grimes said. “So I’ve now read that it is not alumni thing; it is a Russellville City Schools thing – so we are able to tell them that. Join us in our tradition of holding the torch, and here is what the torch means.”
The 22 new employees of Russellville City Schools were also given their first Golden Tiger shirt and toured campus as they learned about the school traditions and talked about the pillars of character and community.
“I think it was a lot more fun, so it allowed people to be a lot more excited,” Grimes said.
West Elementary School Principal Deanna Hollimon said she was present at orientation so she could talk about the traditions and share her love of Russellville City Schools.
“It’s family, and once you become a part of it, you really understand what that means, and it’s hard not to get into those traditions,” Hollimon said. “I shared with them, you might be from a different school, and we might have played you in football, and you sat on the other side of the stadium and watched us as we raised our torches, but we’re very proud of those torches.”
Hollimon said last year she focused on teaching the students at West Elementary about the school traditions, such as the fight song and the alma mater. She said former West Elementary teacher Tara Vincent took the idea to teach the students about traditions and made it into a class project.
Vincent said in a Facebook post her class chose this topic because they wanted to leave a legacy in the Russellville school system.
“It makes me smile knowing these boys and girls have something they can be extremely proud of, growing up in Russellville City Schools,” Vincent said.
The book is dedicated to all past, present and future students of Russellville City Schools. It tells about the city and Russellville’s mission, and in this book, leaders learn about Russellville traditions, such as the torch, the strip, the Russellville dog, Porkchop, Summit Street and Champ, the Golden Tiger mascot.
“It’s very authentic, and it represents the Russellville Golden Tiger tradition very accurately,” Holloman said.
To end the book, students told what they thought it means to be a Russellville Golden Tiger.
“We want to show kids you don’t have to wait until you get in high school to have that school spirit,” Holloman said. “It can happen right here, all the way from Pre-K up.”
Some students said to them, being a Russellville Golden Tiger means holding the torch and wearing school colors, and other children said it means doing well in school and being kind to others.