To our twelfth man

Charlotte Stephan

More stories from Charlotte Stephan

Goodbye FHC
May 31, 2023
Keyan Roelfzema
May 3, 2023
Gibson Wierenga
May 3, 2023

Sydney Ashcroft

FHC’s student section shows their Ranger pride in their opening game against Jenison.

As the Forest Hills Central football team enters week eight of their season, the rest of the students are entering their eighth week of non-stop cheering and support. 

To kick off the best week of the year, the student body participated in one of its biggest bonding experiences: the annual Monday night homecoming bonfire. After having nearly two years of the normal “high school experience” stolen from me, I made a commitment to myself to be involved in as many activities as I could for my final year. If you have ever attended this bonfire and witnessed how exciting and entertaining the drumline is, you will also know how inspirational coach Brad Anderson is as he tells the story of the twelfth man. The twelfth man represents the Ranger student section as they support the other eleven men playing on the field.

Being a senior in the student section was one of the few things I looked forward to as we headed back to school. Knowing I had a long first week ahead of me, I used the Friday night lights as motivation to get me through. I am happy to say that motivation has stuck with me throughout this year. The beach outing was the perfect theme to begin the year as it reminded us of the freedom we lost as our summer came to an end. The excitement I felt as I walked back into the stands was unmatched. I didn’t have to walk up the steps anymore to meet the rest of my grade, instead, I got to be in the very front row, directly in front of all of our leaders. That is when it really sank in, and I realized these experiences were all going to be my lasts.

Two more of the most exciting Friday nights went by before we entered week four against East Grand Rapids. The leaders chose that week’s theme to be a festival out. The theme was chosen so perfectly; we were able to not only celebrate our football team but celebrate the annual FHC Community Tailgate. The sun was beating down on all of us that early evening, and looking around, the student section was glowing from the amount of glitter we had put on. 

Last week, FHC football took on Greenville. It was the first freezing cold Friday night of the year, but I knew I couldn’t miss it. As I walked into the student section, I couldn’t help but notice that the attendance was lower than low. Although there were so few people, our leaders were still able to get us up and cheering, and it felt like we had the entire school there. That was a feeling I want everyone to be able to experience at some point across their four years of high school.

The chants, cheers, picture taking, and rollercoaster rides are something that every student should have the chance to be involved in. As we approach our homecoming football game, I encourage everyone to go and be a part of the student section. Go get dressed up with all of your friends in silly costumes. Participate in all of the cheers that the leaders and cheerleaders lead.  Finally, cherish these memories because they will go by faster than you would have ever imagined.

To our student section leaders of 2022 [Frankie Sutton, Dailey Tucker, Anthony Ott, and Graham Bennett], although I only talk to you on rare occasions, I want to give each of you a special thank you. Thank you for making the student section come to life every Friday night. Thank you for making it such a special place to come and feel safe with the FHC community. Thank you for never failing to make it a positive and fun environment. Most of all, thank you for making my last year as a Ranger an unforgettable one.