Dodgers take some quality time

Fort Dodge Senior High students came together Wednesday to participate in Dodger Time Olympics and have fun.

It is the second year for the Fort Dodge Community School District event.

“We started this last year to try to hopefully get everyone involved in homecoming, because sometimes it’s limited to those people that are involved in the activities,” Dave Keane, FDSH principal, said. “And we want homecoming to be about everybody.”

The students participated in various games, including a hula hoop relay, a changing room relay, and a three-legged race.

“We have a bunch of silly activities planned,” Trista Thompson, FDSH counselor, said. “There’s really no winning, no losing. It’s just a time for everyone to feel included.”

Dodger Time Olympics is not only meant to foster a sense of community among the Senior High’s students during homecoming week, it also allows students to learn teamwork by working together in the contests.

“They are grouped by their Dodger Time,” Thompson said. “Dodger Time this year and last year has been about building a relationship with a staff member. It’s a time during the day where they do team-building activities. We get out career college information, at that time. Also, personal and social skills.”

The day was created in response to the senior high’s yearly culture climate survey, Keane said.

“We administer it to the students and take a look at the results of that,” he said. “We were a little disappointed a lot of the kids didn’t feel like they belong. There were some kids who really felt like there was disrespect between the students, and disrespect of students to staff. And so that’s where the whole advisory period came about, to try to address that.”

Dodger Time Olympics is meant to change some of those perceptions, Keane said.

“This is to make school someplace where everybody can feel like they belong and they can contribute,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to have conversations about topics like bullying or harassment. It gives us an opportunity so every single child gets to know an adult, and every child is known, it’s not just a few of them.”

He added, “Our whole goal is to make a connection with every child who comes into our building and make sure they’re getting the support they need.”

Keane hoped the day would be like returning to the kindergarten playground for his students.

“I want them to go back where we don’t have cliques,” he said. “Dodger Time is randomly mixed, so it’s not like the students are in Dodger Time with their best friends who they normally hang out with. The upperclassman are placed based on their career pathway or interest, and so a lot of time that mixes up the students. It’s to create a safe, caring community of individuals within the school, so every kid feels like they belong to something.”

The ideals are embraced by many of the students, Keane said.

“A majority of our students really do care about each other, but sometimes they don’t really know what the other students are dealing with,” he said. “I think when you have a time during the day where students have an opportunity to really get to know each other, maybe somebody they wouldn’t normally have conversation with, you start to appreciate maybe I’m not the only one dealing with certain issues. Hopefully, it’s creating a better atmosphere in our school.”