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Herriman Journal

Herriman High School continues Valentine’s Day tradition of chivalry

Mar 09, 2020 11:06AM ● By Jet Burnham

Girls look forward to receiving a rose from the cross country boys each year. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Not having a special someone can make Valentine’s Day miserable—especially for a teenage girl. That’s why the boys on the Herriman High School cross country team gave a rose to every girl in their school on Feb. 14.

“I think it's important to let everybody know that they matter,” said Bridger Isbell, who, with Evan Harris, headed up the project. “Hopefully, they leave feeling better than they did when they came to school today.”

Dressed in suits, the boys flanked every entrance to Herriman High School to make sure no one was missed.

“It made me feel special,” said junior Lillian Rodgers. “I just think it's really, really sweet.”

Most girls were not surprised by the greeting. Boys on the HHS cross country team began the Valentine’s Day tradition three years ago. But Isbell said it was fun when some girls, especially the sophomores, were surprised by the gesture. 

“They don't know that it's coming, so they're totally shocked when they walk in,” Isbell said. He said there were also a few juniors and seniors that had forgotten the boys do this every year, so were caught by surprise.

Junior Kylie Sanderson was touched when she was given a rose last year. But because those boys graduated, she wasn’t sure if anyone would be doing it again this year. She was happy to see that the tradition had continued. She said it is not out of character for the boys—those from the cross country team, student body officers and other boys helping hand out the roses. She said they are nice all year round.

“I guess they do it to show that they appreciate us,” she said. “They're just trying to be nice.”

Isbell has helped pass out roses all three years. He looks forward to it as much as the girls do.

“It makes me in a better mood every year,” he said. “I get excited for Valentine's Day. Making other people's day makes me feel good.”

Student body officer Jacob Arsenault enjoyed seeing the girls’ reactions when they were greeted at the doors with flowers.

“It's fun to watch all the smiles on their faces,” he said.

Tara Thompson, Isbell’s mom, said the rose tradition is healing for a student body that has had some rough years. They lost several students to suicide. Hundreds more transferred to the newly opened Mountain Ridge High School.

Funds to purchase the roses were raised mainly through donations made through a GoFundMe account. The boys removed the thorns from each rose stem, placed them in plastic vials of water and attached a slip of paper stating, “You matter.” They handed out 1,250 roses at HHS, and donated the remaining 1,025 roses to a group of boys at Riverton High School to hand out to the girls there. Boys at Mountain Ridge High School also raised their own funds to implement the rose tradition this year.

When the senior boys graduate this spring, they will entrust the underclassmen on the cross country team to keep the tradition going.

“We just want to make sure that every girl in the school knows she matters to somebody,” Isbell said.

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