Olivia Kinney, Writer

School spirit overflows the hallways and classrooms of Mason High School. After experiencing a crucial couple of weeks after break, Mason lifted their heads up and displayed their gratitude towards their hometown. Students and teachers created a chain of positivity through communication over social media with the hashtag, “BulldogPride”.

Blowing up Instagram and Twitter, students and staff shared their voice on how Mason shaped them to be who they are today and their gratefulness for their time in Mason. Teacher Andrew Chapin started the hashtag on Twitter stating his love for Mason.

“I love my job as a teacher @MasonHSMasonMI. I have the privilege of working alongside some of the best human beings I know. I am proud to call many of them my best friends. I’m so glad my kids have the opportunity to attend this wonderful district and school,” Chapin tweeted. No one thought anything of the hashtag until Chapin tweeted again, “Dear everyone in Mason, Let’s try something. Let’s see if we can use today to get this hashtag going: #BulldogPride. Post pictures on Instagram or comment on Twitter about what you love about our school or community.”

Actively promoting positive behaviors and interactions can spread joy onto anyone. Essentially, every person needs encouragement in order to feel good about themselves. Recognizing each other and our individual place in the community happens to be important, each person carries their own value into the place we call home. Senior Bryce DeKett choose to join Chapin’s chain of positivity.

“I’ve been in Mason all of my life and there isn’t a better city that I could’ve grown up in. This community makes me proud to say that I am a Bulldog” tweeted DeKett.

Senior Reagan Bercaw participated in the hashtag as well, recognizing the importance and privilege she has had to grow up in this community.

“It was a really good way to spread positivity during a time when the mason community was experiencing a large amount of negativity from a lot of our surroundings,” said Bercaw. “The Mason community, school ,and teachers have created and opened many opportunities to me for my future and I am very thankful for that. I have also gotten to grow up with some of the best people that I will ever meet.”

Mason High School has several clubs, such as FFA (Future Farmers of America), MHH (Mason Helping Hands), and the SLIC (Student Leaders Inspiring Change) Squad, and they all contribute into making Mason a better place. Generously applying their time into finding ways to better the days of students and teachers, FFA provides warm welcomings in the morning, sticky notes of inspiration, and teacher appreciation breakfasts.

“FFA has always been a supportive place that focuses on creating a safe space for people to grow. The group has also prioritized building up the student body’s morale by making sure that our members are intentional about the way we treat others,” said sophomore Lauren Montalvo.

Opportunities are limitless in FFA, expressing agriculture and leadership gives members an advantage on knowing how to interact with others kindly and respectfully.

“We as an organization, FFA, have really focused on leadership for the last 30 years. It has switched more to leadership than just farming and agriculture, so we really try to develop the kids that are in this organization into really strong leaders, which I think in itself promotes positivity by promoting good leadership because good leaders are mostly positive,” said junior Grace Whipple, also a member.

In addition, the SLIC Squad plays a great role as well, regularly brainstorming different ideas in order to help spread positivity in the school. Last summer, Biology teacher Courtney Ford stepped forward into leading the club. Ford and club members contributed a substantial amount within a few months.

“We’ve changed freshman orientation to make it more interactive and welcoming, we organized float building for homecoming, and we’re working on putting together many school wide activities in upcoming months to help bring more fun into the school,” said Bercaw, a member herself. “I feel like I’ve tried to demonstrate positivity by participating in many different areas in our school and by maintaining as much school spirit as possible.”

The SLIC squad focuses on school culture, hoping to improve it by getting people to care about their school.

“We just do things to make people feel good about themselves, spread a little joy like when we taped the have a great second trimester sign on everybody’s locker with a candy, just little things, we have activities, something planned each month from now until the end of school to promote positive school culture,” said Ford.

Living in Mason her whole life and always encouraging students in her class to treat others with kindness, Ford has seen times evolve and Mason’s growth. Ford sees students genuinely caring about each other and strong relationships being built everyday.

“There is not much that I don’t love about the Mason community, I think that it’s a unique community and that the way people care for each other both in the school and in the greater community is pretty unique, you don’t find that in a lot of places,” said Ford. “Intentionally being kind and doing basic things like smiling at someone in the hallway instead of looking down at your phone and actually saying hi. In my opinion, little things like that make people feel more comfortable.”

On bad days, people tend to have a negative mindset, which can be very toxic to mental health. That can easily be changed by just building each other up and focusing on what is good.

“One thing that I really love about our school is that for the most part we try as a student body to be very positive and build each other up and focus more on the positive side of things than the negative,” said Montalvo. “Personally, I always try to keep a positive mindset while talking to anyone at school, I like to give out compliments and help out when I see a fellow student struggling.”

In contrast to other schools, Mason consistently creates ways to connect groups of students. For example, every Tuesday and Thursday students have the chance of catching up on work or receiving help from their teachers in WIN. On top of that, on Wednesdays, TIES allows students to work on anything while having the opportunity to bond with classmates.

“I really love some of the traditions that we have, I love that we have TIES where we can have this little group of people that you can be with throughout your entire four years of high school. I love that it is a small town, and that you can get to know almost everybody. I love the sports here, golf and bowling have been super super awesome and given me a ton of opportunities,” said Whipple.

Once one graduates and continues life, they look upon their experience at Mason High School and remember little things like the Candy Cane Conundrum, Chapin’s Christmas karaoke in the halls, football game victories, lunch shenanigans, etc.  Past student Mykenzie Lochner feels like Mason High School has significantly affected her life and reflects what she loves about it.

“The people at MHS. I got to build lifelong friendships with teachers and classmates. They still continue to contribute to my life in all the best ways,” said Lochner.