PEPPER PIKE — The Orange Board of Education is looking for ways to boost school spirit at Orange High School, and the latest idea is a series of school pride window decals at a cost of $14,770.

Orange High School Principal Paul Lucas said that there are few places in the school that actually say “Orange” or use a school symbol. He said that the decals would help build school spirit. The proposal involves three decals designed with the image of the lion mascot or “Orange” in script with each covering a large area of windows.

“It has to do with culture, climate, morale and pride in your school,” he said. “There’s very little in the school that actually identifies where you are.”

Mr. Lucas said that this concern has come up many times over the years with students, parents and teachers. He added that there is a big push for branding the schools and building community at high schools across the country.

The principal suggested the decals for the high school fishbowl walled in by windows and a hallway near the media center with a wall of windows. The third place could be windows above the area where each teacher has an office in which they often work individually with students.

Board member Melanie Weltman asked about repurposing the fishbowl. She said that the fishbowl used to be called the green room because students involved in the theater program Stagecrafters could use that space, in addition to other general academic purposes. If the space is filled up with merchandise for a spirit shop, she said, it would not be functional as a green room.

Mr. Lucas clarified that no matter what the future purpose of the room is, it can still be used as a green room. He said that merchandise racks could easily be wheeled out so the room could be used for other purposes.

Deborah Kamat, vice president of the board, asked specifically about the purpose of the decals. Mr. Lucas reiterated the importance of increasing school spirit at the high school.

“I believe that school spirit is tied more to relationships than the things you buy,” Ms. Weltman said. “How we interact with our students and each other is probably key.”

Board member Rebecca Boyle said while attending away games for her children’s sporting events, she noticed that other campuses have the logo and team name branded throughout the buildings.

The BOE would have to vote on spending the $14,770 for the decals, but did not do so on Monday.

In other news, the board approved four contracts. The district will pay CDW-G Communications $202,665 for Chromebooks for students in second, sixth and ninth grade. The district will also pay the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame $27,199 to secure the venue and dinner for prom in 2020. The board approved a 5-year subscription with Bonefish Systems, LLC to provide software to detect financial fraud for $17,395. Lastly, the board approved a proposal for the high school football team to attend an overnight camp at Ohio Wesleyan University at a cost of $136 per student.

The board will meet in regular session on June 24 at 6 p.m. at the Pepper Pike Learning Center.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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