Spirited students show sports support

Sarah Thornton, Managing Editor

If FHS was a body, the Zoo would be its heart. Made up of students with school spirit, the Zoo sports their nicknamed shirts and gathers on Friday nights to support the Falcons.
The Zoo began when a group of students in 1985-1986 enjoyed being a part of the energy at games. Business teacher Diana Story was part of the original zoo when she attended FHS.
“We were a big group of students who caused a scene,” Story said. “We definitely were not liked in the district. We yelled at the refs, we yelled mean stuff at the other teams. We would get right to the line, but never crossed it.”
Back when there was only one school in the county, the biggest rivals were Stafford and Stonewall Jackson High Schools. The group enjoyed the game and gathering with friends who all had similar opinions on school spirit.
“It’s a different time and age,” Story said. “They were much more tolerant [of our behavior] then. The best part was when they announced the other team, and we would ‘read newspapers’ or turn our backs.”
The Zoo Part II was started back up by the class of 2006 when senior Tripper Henson wanted to fill the shoes of his father, an original Zoo member. Business teacher Kathleen Evans served as a sponsor and let the group meet in her room to discuss T-shirts, school spirit, and ways to get people to turn out at the games.
“They packed my room with kids. They tried a lot of trial and error ideas at the games,” Evans said. “They didn’t used to have to stand on our side of the bleachers in one section, so it got pretty dicey. We were good, and we would win.”
Now, the Zoo Part II takes up an entire section in the stands and cheers loud enough for the whole stadium to hear. Zoo captain senior Hailey Miller was originally taken back by the idea of the cheer section because she came from Wakefield Country Day school, a private school with only 180 students at the time. She was introduced to the Zoo when former captain Erika Kondeziwala came into Charles Lewis’ history room selling Zoo shirts her freshman year.
“I told Mr. Lewis that day that I was going to be in the Zoo all four years, and I would be captain,” Miller said. “Here I am, captain of the Zoo. It’s definitely one of my favorite clubs; I love it so much.”
Now ‘Hailstorm’ balances her own basketball schedule with the schedule of the boys games to get the crowd going as much as she can. As a player on the court, junior Leif Heltzel enjoys having the Zoo present and loud at games.
“They make it hard for the other team to focus,” Heltzel said. “It makes our team play better; it gives us motivation.”