Chapman refuels to start a new school year


Drew Timmons

Seniors get ready to participate in the spirit stick competition at the pep rally on Sept. 2. The pep rally was the first one since 2020.

It finally happened.

After three years of quarantines, canceled activities and fear of what tomorrow could bring, we have finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

COVID-19 is but a faint, distant presence, many activities are in the plans for the coming weeks, and excitement has replaced the fear of a new day.

Principal Andrew McMillan has seen this enthusiasm and energy even in these first few days of school, from both students and teachers.

“I always enjoy the new excitement and enthusiasm that comes with a fresh start,” McMillan said. “The first few days are always exciting for us as educators, just to see our students back and start to either build relationships with our new students or cultivate and revive the relationships with our upperclassmen.” 

The theme for this school year is “refuel,” which to McMillan was the perfect word to describe his goal of revitalizing and reenergizing Chapman High School.

“The last few years have really drained everyone, in the simple fact that we have had to tackle and face so much,” McMillan said. “So the word ‘refuel’ came to mind, and it fits in so many ways. When our cars are empty, and we can’t go anywhere-what do we do? We fill our tank with gas. When we are hungry and can’t think straight or we feel bad, we fill our stomachs with food and drink to refuel. So as students and educators, we have to refuel ourselves and travel on this journey with full hearts and minds.”

Guidance secretary Allison Mathis echoed similar thoughts. To her, refueling is reminding yourself of your calling in life and living out that calling each and every day.

“If you need refueling, that means you’re low, on empty, you’re maybe at a low point or you just need to be revived, so refueling to me means that we are going to get back to the basics of what we know and fill our personal tanks with what God has called us to do, and that is to teach and love on children,” Mathis said. “I would say for me, refueling means that each one of us in this building needs to refill our tanks with positivity, with love, with hugs, with whatever.”

Chapman faculty and staff aren’t the only ones embracing the idea of “refueling.” For senior Caroline Garner, refueling and refilling bring the hope of a return to normalcy, a return to what makes high school a special experience.

“I would say that since this year is our first normal year since 2020, refuel means that we’re getting back to normal things such as pep rallies and homecoming weeks and dressing up and having fun like we did my freshman year,” Garner said.

It’s no surprise, then, that the restoration of these activities is what students are most excited about. Garner is no exception, and she hopes to participate in these activities and make the most of her senior year.

“I’m most excited about being a senior, obviously, and enjoying my last year, and doing fun things like pep rallies, seeing all the school spirit students have and just having fun,” Garner said.

McMillan, however, is excited for slightly different reasons. 

He hopes to witness both the greatness and the growth of students, teachers and staff, and take pride in the fact that all of it is happening on the Chapman campus. 

I am excited to see the growth of our school and community, and watch the great things that all our students and teachers and staff do each day,” McMillan said. “It truly is a blessing to be able to observe the greatness in our building.”

And what is McMillan’s message to the school this year, you may ask?

My message is simple: Come to school each day and give the best effort that you can give!”