Originally Published: September 5, 2016 5 a.m.
This past Saturday was the 66th annual Corn Dinner hosted by the Chino Valley FFA Alumni Association at Del Rio School. Those who came were treated to a barbeque beef dinner with sides and all-you-can-eat corn on the cob served by volunteer “celebrity” servers. The FFA Alumni Association uses the proceeds from the Corn Dinner to support the Chino Valley High School (CVHS) agriculture program through senior scholarships and other financial support. The Corn Dinner has a long history in Chino Valley and is a vital part of its Labor Day celebration.
Traditions in schools play an important role in the school culture. Traditions create a sense of community and belonging. They help students recognize the past while creating memories that students will have for the rest of their lives. Most importantly, traditions in schools showcase and reinforce community values. The tradition of the Corn Dinner showed our students the value of hard work, the importance of family and community, and reinforced the impact that community service can have.
Not all of Chino Valley schools’ traditions are as long and storied as the Corn Dinner. On Aug. 21, the CVHS Cougars football team took on the Camp Verde Cowboys for the second annual Battle for the Bronze Boot. These two teams have been rivals for many years, but it is just recently that the rivalry was formalized by the presentation of the Bronze Boot Trophy to the winner. The CVHS Cougars claimed the Bronze Boot this year with a 52-0 win over the Cowboys.
Also in its second year, CVHS will induct its second class into its Hall of Fame. The second Hall of Fame class will celebrate athletes who excelled in softball, volleyball, track, and cross country. The honorees will be inducted at a dinner on Friday followed by recognition later that night at the Cougar football halftime. Inductees will have a plaque permanently displayed on the Hall of Fame wall in the Cougar Gym.
The district’s younger students participate in traditions as well. Kindergarten students at Territorial Early Childhood Center (TECC) start their day each morning in the gym reciting the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a group sing a long. Elementary special needs students from TECC and Del Rio Elementary School (DRS) participate in the annual Special Education Rodeo organized by the CVHS FFA. The young students get to see and pet farm animals, dress up as cowboys and cowgirls, and visit with rodeo clowns.
Students at DRS celebrate and recognize veterans with their Veterans Day Assembly. Students invite friends and family members who have served our nation in the military to Del Rio School to be recognized for their service and sacrifice. Fourth graders at DRS also celebrate Arizona history at the end of each school year by inviting community members to demonstrate how early territorial settlers survived and thrived in Arizona.
For over 20 years, eighth-grade students at Heritage Middle School (HMS) travel to the top of Mingus Mountain to Mingus Springs Camp to experience an overnight camping trip. Students fish, hike, play games, and bond as a celebration of the end of middle school and bring these students closer together as they embark on their adventures in high school. Former HMS students today often mention the lessons they learned and friendships they gained in this capstone event for eighth graders.
The traditions of Chino Valley Unified School District help students develop a sense of community and strengthen their future role as responsible citizens in Chino Valley and Paulden.
John Scholl is superintendent of Chino Valley Unified School District.