OKEECHOBEE — New Okeechobee High School Principal Lauren Myers oversaw her first homecoming as lead administrator at the school last week. But she was no newcomer to the traditions the school and town has long celebrated.
Mrs. Myers was assistant principal at OHS for four years prior to taking on her current responsibilities. Yet, in that role she says she often couldn’t step back and see the big picture.
“As an assistant principal, my job was to act behind the scenes and manage the details,” explained Mrs. Myers “I was so focused on seeing the potential for problems and working to minimize any complications that I missed out on the magic of the evening. I am blessed to be a part of the Brahman traditions, as you will be hard pressed to find another community that embraces its homecoming week like Okeechobee.”
In a blog post, Mrs. Myers expanded on that thought. She described the unexpected difficulty from mentally shifting from the person in the background making sure everything runs smoothly, to being the person in front of the crowd with a microphone.
“I’m good at being a helpmate,” Mrs. Myers wrote of her assistant principal role. “But here’s a dirty little secret, you see I discovered that if I am in a support role, I get to be part of the inspiration without having to be on display. I have not made the mental shift out of a supportive leadership role to the one who is holding the microphone. Don’t get me wrong here. Not one screaming kid cared what I was yelling into that microphone or that the hand that held it was shaking like a leaf on a tree. I totally appreciate the fact that every chant, jello-stained face, or memory that was made was about those kids.”
“At one point in the agenda I was supposed to get the classes to start chanting,” continued Mrs. Myers. “Because we are two separate campuses I realized that this was the very first time our collective student body had come together as Brahmans in the same pep rally. I’m pretty sure no one noticed when I dropped my arms and just took in those faces. I felt the huge smile spread across my face. The enormity of that moment was incredible. It wasn’t a weight, it was more like a warmth of pride that afforded me the opportunity to rise up out of the details, out of the next bullet point on the agenda, and enjoy the excitement and unity of the crowd that stood before me.”
During homecoming week the energetic freshman class jumped out to an early and surprising lead in the competition between the classes. But a push late in the week by the senior class of 2020 ultimately was enough to give them the overall win at their last homecoming at OHS.
The juniors grabbed first place in the jello eating and float competitions, while the seniors took first place in the dress out, games, chant, decorations, participation and money wars competitions.
“Generations of OHS graduates can remember their senior homecoming week experience,” concluded Mrs. Myers. “And even though this new role is still uncomfortable and awkward, I’m cherishing the panoramic impact of the magic that floated through the air like the bonfire embers later that night.”