It’s Homecoming Week at Sparks High School and the week is packed with events for students, athletes, and alumni alike. Even though the temperatures have dropped a bit, school spirit started heating up beginning at 7:15 a.m. Monday morning with a special flag raising ceremony.
Since 2012, Sparks alumni classes that are celebrating their 50-year reunion will raise a new American flag and retire the old one, which will be safely folded, stored, and displayed in a glass case in Sparks High School’s main hall. On September 30, five ladies from the Class of 1969 and the JROTC participated in the flag raising ceremony to kick off Homecoming Week.
“This is the eighth class in a row (who’ve participated in the flag ceremony) and the school loves it,” says Sparks High School Alumni Craig Gustavson. Gustavson inadvertently started the flag ceremony years ago and every year since he has bought the flag, orders the display case in July, then delivers it to the school two weeks before the ceremony/Homecoming Week.
“It was a nice turnout (for the Monday flag ceremony). In fact, I think it was the best one yet,” he says. “It’s amazing after eight years that we’re all still this excited about it. All the gals out there thought, ‘this is so cool’,” Gustavson adds.
The Sparks High alumni events then pick back up at the end of the week with the annual Hall of Fame ceremony taking place this Friday at 4pm at the Sparks High Little Theater to celebrate the 2019 SHS Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame has been around for a few decades and inductees can include Sparks High alumni, athletes, or donors. The SHS Alumni Association formed a committee of eight members who vote on the inductees based on the merits of the applications they receive throughout the year. The Association receives around 25 applications per year and the committee ushers in three or four inductees with the most votes to the Hall of Fame.
“People from all walks of life enter into the Sparks High Hall of Fame,” says Sparks High Alumni Association President Donald Abbott. There’s also a Hall of Fame room at Sparks City Hall with a list of all the inductees.
This year’s ceremony will acknowledge/ induct Sparks High alumni Neil Fockler, Barbara Canady of Class of ’48, and Don Young of Class of ’51. Don Young was a former Sparks fire chief, Neil Fockler was a well-respected Sparks High English teacher, and Barbara Canady was a local business owner.
“Neil Fockler is a staple at the Sparks High English Department and influential not only with the students but with the teachers and staff as well,” Abbott says. “Don Young graduated from Sparks High and worked his way up the ranks to fire chief at Sparks Fire which is an awesome achievement and makes him a great role model for current students,” he adds. Barbara Canady was born and raised in Sparks and worked for the high school for more than 30 years before becoming a secretary for Hartmann and Associates. She passed away in 2015.
On Friday, October 4, the Sparks High School Girls Soccer team will also be playing at the Greater Nevada Field at 3 p.m. (it’s free to attend) followed by the undefeated Boys Soccer team playing at 5pm. Sparks High Varsity Football will be playing Fernley at 7 p.m. where families, friends, and alumni can root on the Railroaders donned in their best maroon and gold.