Steamtown claimed its fourth House Cup Friday during the return of Hayes High School’s House Games.
Friday’s 32 competitions were the capstone to a year of competitive events in a variety of areas, including academic, athletic and artistic. Friday’s competitions included soccer, still-life drawing, pottery, “Super Smash Brothers,” reverse charades and volleyball.
House Games had been an annual tradition for four years before it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Hayes Principal Ric Stranges said Friday students were happy the House Games were able to take place this year.
“What I’ve heard most today is ‘we’re just glad it’s back,’” Stranges said. “It’s one of those things that sets Hayes apart from other schools. This is the culmination of a yearlong quest for the House Cup. The weather couldn’t have been better, the students couldn’t have been better. It was a great day.”
Vice Principal Rex Reeder, who created the house system at Hayes, said it was a good way to end a challenging school year.
“I think we needed to have some fun,” Reeder said. “It’s been a year of challenges, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s nice to do something fun. When I created the day, this is what I wanted it to be … let kids have a little fun and a bit of normalcy. It’s just a great day.”
Reeder said the goal of the house system generally is to get kids involved and said House Games are a great showcase for that ideology. He added that only the senior class had experienced House Games before, and it was a new experience for the other three classes.
“It’s neat to see how many people win events,” Reeder said. “Our goal is to get as many involved as we can. A lot of kids enjoy just coming to watch and see the camaraderie a little bit. We’ll have a winner at the end of the day, but they all get to play. Kids do different things to have fun, that’s what it’s about. We had a great day.”
At the end of the event, students from Steamtown gathered on the field at Cornell Stadium and were awarded the House Cup for the fourth time in the five years House Games has been held.
Steamtown advisor and teacher Josh Lamb was thrilled to get the win again.
“It feels great, especially not having house for the last two years,” Lamb said. “I didn’t know what to expect. A lot of people really stepped up and worked really hard. It’s rewarding for me but it’s more rewarding for these kids. I feel really fortunate to win it.”
Lamb echoed Reeder and said he loves seeing a large number of students in his house get involved in competing throughout the year.
“We had 114 our of 144 kids in the house compete,” Lamb said. “It makes me really happy to see everybody does their part as a team. Four times now we found a way to get kids involved and our big push is to get as many kids involved as we can possibly get involved.”
Lamb said he looks forward to the event every year and tries to make it a positive experience for students.
“I don’t sleep a whole lot the couple weeks leading up to House Games,” Lamb joked. “I try to communicate a lot to the kids. I push hard on be competitive; it’s okay to compete as hard as you can; trying is important but being able to move on when things don’t go your way, move on to the next event. We know it’s a war of attrition. You have to stay in it for the long haul, keep kids excited. We have to make sure we get those kids involved in those events.”
Steamtown senior Chloe Kannally said winning the House Cup her freshman and senior years felt “amazing,” and she personally competed in three events on Friday.
“It’s like a full-circle moment because we won my freshman year and then didn’t have it for two years, so it’s really cool to win it again,” Kannally said. “I feel like especially with seniors, this being our last time, we were really pushing to get every point that we could.”
Fellow Steamtown senior Dylan Ashworth agreed, adding he was proud to have won the House Cup again before he graduates. Ashworth said he participated in five competitions on Friday.
“All the other houses were talking a lot this year, but we pulled it out, and it feels good,” Ashworth said. “It’s just fun. You get to hang out with your classmates and show the younger kids school spirit. To go two-for-two felt really great.”
Fulton Creek student Lonny Curry, right, gives advice to Lockport student Marta Bourget Friday during the pottery competition as part of House Games.
Steamtown students lift the House Cup in the air Friday after winning the House Games for the fourth time.
Steamtown students pose for a photo with the House Cup Friday at Cornell Stadium.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.