Evergreen means everyone
Evergreen High School is so much more than a campus for learning.
It is a place to gather, to embrace one another, to respect one another.
Two student leaders were interviewed for this story separately, days apart, and yet they both gave similar descriptions.
“Evergreen means the world to me,” senior Tyler Ricketts said. “Family. Trust. It’s a place I can go to when everything’s not going well. I’ll be able to come back, see everybody, and it puts a smile on my face.”
“Evergreen is a safe place,” senior Jasmine Tiatia said. “When I go there, I don’t have to worry. It’s someplace I can go when I want to relieve stress, or go cry, or crack a joke with a teacher. I am able to do that.”
While in-building learning has been shut down for the remainder of this academic year, the feelings associated with Evergreen remain strong. And will always remain strong for these seniors, long after graduation.
They talk about diversity as a strength.
Ricketts, for example, is in the Black Student Union, which discusses black history, naturally, but also gives guidance on how to treat others.
“Respect each and every religion and race,” Ricketts said. “It teaches me to be a better person.”
In the halls at Evergreen, he added, that is more than just a philosophy.
“We all get together and bond,” Ricketts said.
A basketball player, Ricketts said at Evergreen, the athletes do not just hang out with each other. Everyone hangs out with everyone.
Tiatia, a three-sport athlete, concurs.
“Evergreen has that way of making you feel you are not an outcast,” she said. “You have family away from family.”
Which makes the school closure even more difficult to endure.
“I miss my teachers. I miss talking to my teachers about problems,” Ricketts said.
And, of course, his classmates.
“I was trying to get to know everybody in the school because it’s my last year,” he said.
Tiatia said she knew she would miss school, but didn’t know exactly how … until now.
“Just being able to see my friends that I only see at school and being able to hang out with them, make jokes, make memories,” she said. “Just being able to see them on a daily basis.”
This school year was particularly memorable for athletics. The football team had a resurgence and the boys basketball team won a league title and made it to state. Oh, and the girls on the bowling team won another state championship because that is how they roll.
“Sports put us on the map,” Ricketts said. “A lot of people are paying attention to us. That just shows Evergreen is changing.”
Tiatia plays volleyball, basketball, and is a star on the track and field team. She holds the school record in the shot put. She appreciates seeing the Evergreen E or other Plainsmen attire throughout the community.
“When I see that, I’m connected to that person,” Tiatia said. “The fact they are proud enough to have that sticker or wear that shirt, our school is a lot more than what people think. There are people who have graduated who still have Evergreen gear. That just makes me feel I’m a part of something that is bigger than what other people think it is.”
Advice to other students during the school closure:
Ricketts wants classmates to take advantage of the time.
“Try to find yourself,” he said. “During school, you’re busy. Now is a perfect time to find yourself, find what you love, get to know yourself, and become a better person. And get closer with family.”
Stay positive, Tiatia says.
“Keep your head up. Keep your distance. And just be ready to start off a new year next year. Things will get better.”