ANNANDALE, Va. (WUSA 9) — Annandale’s motto is “One school, One Family.” It’s a simple message that has sparked serious change in the Fairfax County High School.
Last year, members of the student executive board, which is comprised of student-elected SGA members and part of a school-wide leadership class, recognized a divide in the Annandale community.
“[We] realized that a lot of people just go to football games, so we really wanted to make everybody involved and really showcase all of Annandale,” said senior Nina Fairman. “We wanted to make one school, one family.”
The solution: a hype squad with a point-based reward system. Students earn points by attending sporting events and school functions which can then be traded in for prizes.
The result: a stronger sense of community in the school and a hype squad that has 100 members focused on creating an inclusive community at Annandale.
To encourage students to support one another and increase awareness about all school programs, students receive more points for attending events that were not widely recognized in the past.
“We had no spirit and it’s now being revived with our new slogan and Atom pride,” said Meg Hua, who leads the hype squad.
The program, now wrapping its inaugural season, is supported by the executive board and athletic department as well as prize donations from sports teams. Hua and Fairman said student involvement in the hype squad shows the idea of “One school, One family” is catching on.
In October, the Atoms Hype Squad was voted Favorite Student Section in the DC Area with 15,477 of 34,566 total votes. Moving forward, Fairman said the executive board plans to improve the rewards system to make it easier for students to track their points.
The football team, which Fairman and Hua said draws hundreds of students to Friday night home games, is 6-3 and will travel to Battlefield on Friday for the first round of the Virginia 6A North region playoffs.
Senior Ricky Lam documented the football team and student section this season. Watch his videos to see the Atoms in action.