A Fiery Comeback: Bonfire tradition resurrected

Rory Dungan

After the excitement of the fall sports kickoff assembly, students rushed out to the parking lot where the flames of the Bonfire licked at the darkening sky. It was the return of a tradition after a year of absence.

Last year, Bonfire became the Cougar Kickoff due to the installation of turf on the practice baseball field, where the fire had burned in years past. They also had problems figuring out how to have a fire on the asphalt without causing damage to the surface. To solve the problem, sand was put down on the asphalt to act as a barrier between the fire and the pavement below. This year, with the help of Spirit Club, the Bonfire has found its new home in the west parking lot.

“Last year, we were in a rush and didn’t know our options, so we did the cookout,” Spirit Club co-president Kirryn Killingsworth said. “This year, over the summer, we looked over all of our options and talked with the administration. They said we could do it in the parking lot.”

We made it so that it was sustainable, not just for one year, but in the future.

— Kaitlin Pauli

The members of Spirit Club, who orchestrated the bonfire and the assembly, had been planning the Bonfire even before the school year started to make sure the event went smoothly. Co-president Kaitlin Pauli organized help from both the Shawnee Fire Department and students’ parents, including her own father, who arranged for a local company to donate the sand used under the fire. Specialty Contracting delivered and installed the sand. Pauli also coordinated with Mason Patterson from Boy Scout Troop #93 to set up the wood for the fire. Using donated supplies reduced the cost of the event to make it affordable.

What were your thoughts on Bonfire?

  • It was amazing! (50%, 11 Votes)
  • I enjoyed most of it, but not all of it (27%, 6 Votes)
  • It needed work (23%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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The assembly, which kicked off the night, showcased fall sports. class skits, in which each grade, excluding the freshmen, performed a dance to music, made up another portion of the assembly. Performing a skit in an assembly puts a class one step closer to winning the spirit stick. In the end, the sophomore class was victorious in winning the stick at Bonfire. The freshmen didn’t perform a skit because they lacked time and participants.

“The freshmen were too scared to be in the skit,” freshman Tamara Harris-Webster said. “Kyra and
I organized something, but everyone dropped out because they didn’t want to go in front of people.”

The Bonfire was a new experience not only for the freshmen, but also for the sophomores, who didn’t have that experience last year. For some, the fire wasn’t the highlight of the night.

“From what I saw, the fire wasn’t the main event,” sophomore Grace Rippee said. “The main event was inside at the pep assembly. I still like the thought that this has been happening for a long time and we’re keeping the tradition going, but it was kind of the afterthought.”

The future of the Bonfire is no longer a question. Pauli doesn’t think Bonfire is going away anytime soon.

“Everyone outside looked like they were having such a good time,” Pauli said. “We made it so that it was sustainable, not just for one year, but in the future. ”