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The Story Behind the Spirit Shovel

History lies on the walls of Woodland. In a display box hanging in the lobby, at first glance you may not recognize the Spirit Shovel. Back when the grounds of Woodland were nothing but dirt and woods, Region 16 came together with partial land of Matthies park to construct a high school for the towns of Prospect and Beacon Falls. This would require years of construction that lead it to opening for Woodland’s first official school year in 2001. However, the question still remains, why does Woodland have a Spirit Shovel?

Before construction of the new addition to the two towns, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to recognize and celebrate all of the individuals who made the project possible. During this ceremony, two shovels were present to break the ground to commence the start of a new venture. These two very shovels have never left the ground they broke. One shovel can be found in the main foyer of Woodland, the other is given every year to the winning class of spirit week to run down to the spirit rock and show it to the departing students and staff for Thanksgiving break.

One teacher in particular takes charge of spirit week by advising Woodland’s Student Government to prepare for this special occasion. Christopher Tomlin assists the Student Governments’ Senate Committee on School Spirit to make sure things run smoothly and there are no problems to occur along the way. Therefore, Tomlin protects one of the shovels to be sure no one tampers with it.

“The original idea was to move the case with the spirit shovel in the hallway of the winning class,” said Tomlin.

However, what would happen if a class didn’t win? During what students know as the “COVID year”, there was a new winner in town. The Faculty won spirit week and were able to feel the triumph of holding the shovel and waving goodbye to students from the rock. Not only was that bizarre but the class of 2020 won the spirit shovel twice as juniors and seniors.

“Five or six years ago the Student Government started including Faculty in the competition. It’s Woodland spirit, we [the staff] are always here, students come and go but we remember every year prior.”

With the short amount of time students attend Woodland for, the staff remembers it all, some even remember their first students in 2001. From the first time students walk through the door till the last, you will always cherish the memories made at Woodland.

Maddy Harte

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