The lost history of Fossil: From attempted world record to traditions

Yang Zhang, Staff Writer

Fossil Ridge High School, home of the Sabercats, was established in 2004 and originally opened to reduce the amount of students attending Fort Collins High School and Rocky Mountain High School.The school was built to be a small learning community (SLC) that focuses on character building. It is also a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) area, meaning it is very energy efficient. They also reimagined the idea of the school in attempts to enforce anti-school shooting efforts after the incident in Columbine. This article will explain the origin concepts and lost traditions of Fossil.

Character poster for advisory

The relationship between students and teachers is one of the biggest concepts of Fossil’s advisory program, and it is heavily focused on as Fossil grows. Every class has a character building poster that focuses on building a strong character.

Fossil is a silver certified LEED school, which allows the school to be more energy efficient. The lights switch on and off automatically to be more energy efficient, and some of the school’s flooring is made of recycled tires. Fossil does not actually have a real air conditioning system. There are big containers behind the school filled with water, and during the summer, the water in the container freezes overnight and becomes ice. Then, air blows over the ice to cool the school down.

One of Fossil’s original ideas was to form small learning communities. When the building was designed, the plan was that each wing would have their own small groups of students learning together. For example the kids in the East Wing would learn together in one group and the kids in the West Wing would learn in their own group, each staying in their own group. There would also be groups of teachers teaching these groups of kids. But this plan was unfortunately cancelled because its cost was not within the public budget and funding.

During Homecoming, there is also a policy that no one can get voted twice in a role, and this is a policy Fossil has tried to keep ever since it opened.

Drop everything and read time (DEAR) was also a big tradition that was present when Fossil opened, even being a mandatory reading program. During DEAR time every day, everyone in all classes would stop what they were doing and read for fifteen minutes. Some students and teachers loved it, while some hated it.

The concession stand next to the gyms is called Smilodons.The shop was open all day and sold pencils and other school supplies, as well as candy bars and pops. But unfortunately it was outlawed by the Healthy Food Guidelines. There were also vendors from other food companies that sold packed food during lunch time, which is also now outlawed.

Fossil also has a research-based design meant to prevent school shootings from happening, after the incident in Columbine. The template is similar to Mountain View High School. There are very open spaces, bright windows and locker bay designs that allow you to look over the lockers.

Fun fact about Fossil: in 2014, on the 10-year anniversary of the school’s opening, Fossil attempted to break the Guinness World Record of most people doing the same thing at the same time, including star jumping, bubbling popping, lunges, arm linked standing up, thumb wrestling, whistling, unwrapping candy, arm wrestling, push ups, and blind-folded high fives. Unfortunately the video tapes were misplaced, and when the video was found again, it was too late for submission. Also in the first year the principle was super strict about hats, and there were no hats allowed in class.

Over the past sixteen years Fossil has grown and developed into the school and community we know today.