How the De Soto High School community is unique

The De Soto High School student section comes together to cheer on  the football team at the game against Mill Valley High School on Nov 15.

Wildcat Photo

The De Soto High School student section comes together to cheer on the football team at the game against Mill Valley High School on Nov 15.

Maggie Kroeger, Editor in Chief

De Soto High School has always been known for it’s “small school feel.” This is what people thought made the school unique and gave it the feeling that many students enjoy so much. But even as DHS approaches a population of one thousand, there is still something unique that many students recognize within the walls of the school and the events that take place. 

On my first day of freshman year, I can admit with every ounce of humility that I was absolutely petrified on the inside. Even though I dressed up like everyone else and walked in the building with the friends I’d grown up with, I still felt the most nervous I ever had been before. The building looked gigantic compared to my tiny middle school, masses of people crowded the hallways and all of the classrooms were large with scary teachers and even scarier expectations. There were so many clubs and sporting events that I couldn’t even remember them all, just like I couldn’t remember even a quarter of all the new names of my classmates. 

Fast forward three years, I’m now a senior at DHS, and I’ve come to find that I’ve gotten (most of) those things down to a tee. I learned the best and fastest routes to get to class, memorized the quadratic formula, took my first AP tests, started writing for the newspaper and dedicated all of my time in the spring to soccer. The biggest thing I’ve learned about DHS though is just how unique and different the community really is from the rest of the schools around us, beyond just having a “small school feel.” 

I could feel that uniqueness when the student section would link arms and sing “Hey Baby!” after the third quarter of every football game, and I could feel it when spirit buses full of students traveled to Topeka to watch the girls’ basketball team compete at State. I felt it when the girls soccer team played Mill Valley High School in the quarterfinals in 2018, and our entire student section had been full for the first time ever in my soccer career, and I felt it when I’d attend pep assemblies and feel the whole gym shaking with the sound of the band and students cheering. But I think the day that I felt it the most was the iconic rivalry football game against MVHS. 

That game sticks in a lot of people’s minds, but for me, that was the day I realized just how special DHS and its student body really was. I witnessed all of my friends and football supporters set up a tailgate at 2:30 p.m. right outside the stadium gates, and I saw all of us lining up at those gates to get in nearly three hours before the game. There was a poster-making party, a hype rally, hype videos, spirit wear and even the football moms bought pom poms and rally towels for the entire student section. I’ll probably always remember the sight from the front row of what seemed like hundreds of De Soto students waving rally towels and pom poms, shooting off confetti and holding posters and cheering as loud as they possibly could. The support for the team and the energy of the students that night was unlike anything I’d ever seen from our school. 

Even after the tough loss, I saw the community at the best I ever had. We chanted “thank you seniors” in the last minute of the game, gave high fives to the team like every other night and waited for our senior friends to come out to congratulate them. It was crazy to me that every single Friday night, my friends and I had gone out to watch our best friends compete in the hard, competitive and challenging game that is football. We’ve watched them give up weekends, wake up early every single morning and day of the summer and give everything they had into the sport, while they’ve watched us do the same with our own sports or clubs. Football’s senior class is accomplished, and that was something that should be celebrated, which is exactly what we did. 

To me, there was no sore losing or regret, and that was what made me love DHS the most. Our student body celebrates each other, win or lose, and always chooses to look at the accomplishments we’ve made instead of the failures that sit behind us. We pick each other up when we lose, cheer each other on when we win and go out to support each other in every sport or competition. Our student section gives students who may have never officially met before an opportunity to cheer together as if they were best friends.There are always students who are willing to go out and support one another, winning or losing records aside. So even though it was sad to say goodbye to “Friday Night Lights,” I got the chance to fully recognize just how unique and tightly bonded the De Soto High School community really is, and that is by far my favorite high school memory I’ve made.