FMHS students give school a four-year high five

Students were climbing the walls at FMHS Monday morning. But this time they left their mark with an individual hand print to highlight National School Choice Week. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


FORT MADISON – Fort Madison High School students gave about four years worth of low and high fives to future students Thursday morning.

As an activity celebrating National School Choice Week, freshmen through seniors had their hands painted with a roller and then went to the west wall of the school’s multi-purpose room and pressed a hand print on the freshly painted walls.

Students climbed ladders and some laid on the ground to fully cover the wall with the prints.

FMHS Principal Greg Smith said the prints will stay on the wall for four years and then the wall will probably be repainted and the activity could be repeated.

Fort Madison High School Principal Greg Smith touches up a red hand print, while Brock Califf adds a handprint to the wall in the Fort Madison High School Multi-Purpose Room Thursday morning. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“The freshman will get to see this for the next four years, which is pretty cool,” he said.

The celebration is a way to honor the nation’s system of choosing what schools its youth attend.

“It just means there is a choice for students legally. So this week every year in January they do this. They had contacted me every year and I wondered if was really a high school thing,” Smith said.

“Then I started seeing some high schools around the country coming up with some neat ideas.”

Smith said a staffer suggested getting “butcher” paper and having the kids put their hand prints on that.

Freshman Gage Langrill goes way up high on the ladder with some help to put his hand print at the top of the wall at a National School Choice activity Thursday at Fort Madison High School. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“I’m like, ahh no, we can do a little better than that. So I had the guys repaint the walls, we put a brand new sign up and the kids were just like, “Oh, we want to do that.”

Smith said every day this week, the school has had a celebration as to why the students are glad to be there.

“It’s just kind of a celebration of the high school,” he said.

National School Choice Week was founded in 2011 to promote the concept of all forms of school choice: district schools, district magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, and home schooling.

The week of events is scheduled the last week of January each year.

Fort Madison freshman Emily Steffensmeier gets purple paint applied to her hand before she makes a print on the Multi-Purpose Room’s west wall Thursday morning. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

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