High school newspaper story:
The success of the activities at Bellevue West has given the school a lot of pride and positivity, but also major clutter. Every group has been responsible for taking care of their trophies since the school opened in 1977.
“I couldn’t even tell you how many trophies we have, there are so many in there. We probably get 20 a year and this is our 30th year,” band director Kyle Haugen said.
The band program participates in a number of competitions every season. Because of the amount of trophies received each year, Haugen can’t keep every trophy the program brings in.
“Basically at the end of the year we do spring cleaning and decide which trophies to keep. Sometimes we will keep the plates from the major trophies as far back as the 1970’s,” Haugen said.
Along with the “spring cleaning” the band program has to keep their successes organized. With the significant amount of trophies the band program receives, Haugen catalogs every trophy whether it is kept or thrown away.
“We catalog every single trophy we’ve had dating back to 1998,” Haugen said.
ROTC is another activity that rakes in a significant amount of trophies each school year. The program averages about 50 trophies at the end of every season.
“In the past we have given them to the boys and girls clubs, but they don’t need them this year. I also called the Offutt Youth Center and a trophy shop, and they can’t use them either. I’m at a loss, so I have to throw them away,” senior aerospace science instructor Scott Vanderhoof said.
Students who earned the trophies understand that there simply isn’t enough room to keep every trophy from every year.
“Throwing them away doesn’t really upset me, the trophies that get thrown away are all a lot older, and the people who would remember those are long gone from the school,” senior Emma Hannan said.
Hannan is a Cadet Captain in ROTC and has been part of the program for four years. She has participated in about 20 competitions, and understands the importance of winning a trophy.
“They are a way to show how much time and effort we put into our competitions and routines. The experience is overall a great thing, but bringing home a trophy is the icing on the cake,” Hannan said.
The ROTC trophies are displayed around the ROTC rooms so students can admire what they accomplished. There is a special table at one wall which holds the national trophies the program brought in.
“They are so massive there is no place for all of them, but we do display most of the national trophies dating back to 1997,” Vanderhoof said.
Another solution aside from completely throwing the trophies away, is to give them to the students who earned them.
“As seniors graduate I’m going to ask them if they want the trophies they won,” Vanderhoof said.
Giving away trophies doesn’t mean they aren’t meaningful to the program.
“They are definitely an indication of the success the teams have had over the years,” Vanderhoof said.
The display of the trophies motivates students to work hard in competitions. The fact that there are too many to keep says a lot about the quality of the program.
“It’s really awesome to know that you come from a tradition like that. It’s a great motivator to try harder,” Hannan said.
Although these programs dislike throwing away trophies every year, there is simply not enough room to store each trophy. The meaning behind the trophy is what is important.
“I think to the program it shows the excellence we have had over the years. It shows the rich history the program has had, even with the directors before me,” Haugen said.