Wylie High School Principal Reagan Berry shares her perspective on Wylie Nation and why school spirit is something she believes impacts all.
What is your experience with student sports/high school teams?
I grew up a coach’s daughter, so I don’t know Friday nights in the fall without stadium lights. I love the camaraderie that high school sports bring to the student body, the staff, the district, and the community. There is a different feel and culture in schools that have winning teams and schools that do not. Schools with successful teams and programs carry a sense of pride and presence that champions and fosters success in all aspects of the school.
How would you describe Wylie Bulldog culture?
Everyone in the Big Country knows the purple and gold. There’s a culture of community and high expectations which pushes Bulldogs from elementary to high school to rise to the name. There is a certain notoriety that comes with being a Wylie Bulldog, and it’s up to the community, its expectations, and the district to maintain the impact of the Wylie name.
As a principal, what role do you feel school spirit plays in success on and off the field?
I’ve never suited up to play on a football field, but I know what atmosphere does to adrenaline and confidence. It’d be silly to say that “spirit” outweighs the hard work, dedication, and talent of the players and coaches, but there’s a reason the Aggies have created an entire branding around the 12th Man. There’s a reason the Pure Gold Band managed to get a penalty at a game for being too loud. Spirit and atmosphere play an impactful role in success. If there was ever a gift from COVID, it was realizing the things we took for granted can be gone quickly, which includes Friday night atmosphere. Not only does school spirit play a role in the win or loss, but also in the celebration and defeat. When a team wins, the entire community wins. When a team loses, the entire community mourns that but then picks those teenagers and coaches up to get ready for the next game.
As a principal, you engage with the students a lot at events. What is your goal for both students who participate in the events and students who attend the events to get out of their experience?
A sense of unity and memories! I want them to tell stories in college about their school and for their new college friends to wish they went to Wylie. My favorite part of the night is when they all grasp pinkies and sing the school song. There’s a sense of family and unity, and my hope is there’s a little something that feeds their teenage soul to create sweet memories to carry with them.
Do you have any favorite moments of school spirit that stand out in your mind?
There are not a lot of moments that will beat the end of the Colleyville Heritage game last football season. The snow, the frigid temperatures, and the gutsy end of game. I love watching our students have guts and grit. One of my favorite things to do is video our student section in those moments for that perfect Instagram moment. They never fail me on good content. When it comes together on the field, and I get to capture their peers in the stands… it’s just the best! I also can’t forget the sea of purple that traveled to Tarleton. Let it be known, one ticket booth will never be enough for the Wylie Bulldogs!
There are some new elements being added to Friday Night Lights – the huge fan flag and the Dawg Pack. Why are you bringing those elements to Wylie?
I want to engage and involve as many students as possible. I want students to lead and for the student section to be a positive place for OUR team. I want young Bulldogs to be excited to get to high school and either play or be in the student section and feel like they have a part. I hope when these seniors come back 20 years down the road, they see some of the same traditions happening that they helped start.
By Kristen Johnson