By: Ashlyn Dewey
Every August as back to school season rolls around and anticipation fills the air, our school hosts Tiger Hunt to reunite Central students, faculty, and families, following a summer apart. This gathering builds a sense of community among Tigers and familiarizes new students with our school’s atmosphere and inhabitants. Tiger Hunt provides a diverse range of dinner options for guests, including snacks donated by the PTO, free hot dogs made by Student Council, and a plethora of food trucks. Not only does Tiger Hunt provide guests with meals, but also entertainment, with its music, blow-ups, corn hole, and games. Many of these accessories, however, have just been added to Tiger Hunt recently.
To get more background on the development and goals of Tiger Hunt, I have interviewed our assistant principal, Michelle Huffman. Mrs. Huffman explained that our first Tiger Hunt was hosted around the first or second year that Central magnet opened to “pull families together and pull students together.” Prior to the pandemic, Tiger Hunt had just been an event to bring your own desert and hang out with families. However, following Covid-19, blow-ups, food trucks, spike ball, and corn hole were added to the itinerary to shift the focus from welcoming only new Central students to welcoming all Central students. When asked about one of her more memorable Tiger Hunt experiences, Mrs. Huffman references this improved post-Covid Tiger Hunt as one of her sweeter ones, saying, “[I was so] excited to see everyone back and have just a little bit of normalcy. It was super sweet.” A lot of planning and help from our staff, clubs, and PTO goes into creating this event. In order to organize Tiger Hunt, PTO donates deserts and finds volunteers, Student council cooks hot dogs and gives tours, the PE department helps with providing the blow ups, spike ball and cornhole, and Mr. Meek or Mr. Click organizes the music. Just as Tiger Hunt needs our community to be planned, it also strengthens our community. When asked how Tiger Hunt builds a sense of community among students and families, Mrs. Huffman answered that the event is a good opportunity for families to come out and meet one another. She says, “Just being on Mainstreet in the hub of the town, and we are all coming together on the front lawn, it’s just a community feeling […] It just feels like family.”
Faculty aren’t the only ones that get excited about Tiger Hunt though. Our middle school students especially enjoy this event as a chance to hang out with their friends while they return to the routine of school. When asked about her favorite part of Tiger Hunt, Maggie Hogan, an eighth grader who has been to two Tiger Hunts previously, states, “My favorite part of Tiger hunt was definitely getting to hang out with my friends. I like that we can see what school feels like when it’s not actually a school day if that makes sense. Also, the food is so good!” Another student, Jaofangum Vongsavath, a seventh grader who had not been to Tiger hunt prior to this year, agreed that the food offered at the event was a highlight of his time. The food trucks featured this year were Single Tree BBQ, Shug’s Ice Cream, Kona Ice, Laovin’ It, Mother Subs, and Pops Krazy Kettle Korn. The food and friends were not only favored by our middle school students, but also our high schoolers. Grace White, a tenth grader at our school, had similar experiences to the other students, stating, “My favorite part was just eating food with my friends,” and “it [the food] was genuinely really, really good.”
Overall, Tiger Hunt this year was successful in facilitating the growth of new memories, friendships, and favorite food trucks for our Central Tigers. Be sure to show up to next year’s Tiger Hunt, it’s really a lot of fun!