Passing on the Tiger Tradition: Parents continue BV legacy, send children to alma mater

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Alex Kontopanos

The Smith family poses in front of the tiger statue at Blue Valley. From left to right: father Troy Smith, sophomore Justin Smith, senior Mackenzie Smith and mother Stacey Smith. Photo by Alex Kontopanos.

Danielle Williams, Entertainment Editor

Valley has been built around, and tradition continues to exist in numerous ways around the school and community. For senior Mackenzie Smith and sophomore Justin Smith, BV tradition has existed in their own household since both their parents attended BV more than 25 years ago.
Mackenzie said sharing the same high school has created a strong bond between her and her parents, who enjoyed their time at BV so much they insisted upon their children attending. Mother Stacey Smith attended BV from 1984-1986, where she met her high school sweetheart and future husband. Unfortunately, they both had to attend the new school being built, BV North, and weren’t able to graduate from BV.
“I was very upset,” Stacey said. “When we were sophomores, they told us we had to move to the new school, and there was a walk out. Everyone walked from Blue Valley High to the district office. We walked down the middle of the street to protest.”
Stacey said although her time at BV wasn’t as long as she would have liked, she thoroughly enjoyed her experience there and loved the tight community feel that BV possessed.
“We enjoyed going there, and we like the small community vibe the school has and the tradition that the school holds,” Stacey said.
Stacey said BV is much different now than when she attended.
“They have expanded it,” she said. “The school itself was much smaller than it is now.”
Although the school has encountered many changes, there remain a few traditions that have stayed the same throughout the years.
“Football was a huge deal and just the school spirit,” she said. “The teacher involvement was awesome back then, as it is now.”
Stacey attended BV and BV North with the man that would eventually become her husband. She said they began dating senior year.
“Our lockers were close together,” she said. “We didn’t really hang out in the same group, but we got to know each other.”
Both went to college in Texas, but they decided to move back in 1993 and start a family.
“We knew we wanted to live out south, and we were hoping our kids would be able to attend Blue Valley,” she said.
Stacey argues BV is superior to the other schools in the district because of the tradition and loyalty.
“There are so many teachers that have stayed at the school for so many years,” she said. “It just proves that the school itself and the community are tight.”
Many of the staff members who taught Stacey are still around and a part of her children’s education.
“Peggy Rose was my PE teacher, and she looks exactly the same as she did in 1985,” she said.
Mackenzie said she is very glad her parents decided to move back so she could attend BV.
“I love it, and I would not want to go to any other school,” Mackenzie said. “It’s a lot of fun to get involved because there’s a lot of spirit and tradition. You can just tell that everyone wants to be there.”
Mackenzie said she always looked forward to being able to go to BV when she was older and learned the school fight song at a young age.
“It’s cool just because I’ve known the tradition ever since I was little, and I’ve always [been] driven by it,” she said. “It’s kind of strange sometimes seeing some of the same teachers [my parents] had, but everything’s different now. It’s not the same school.”
Mackenzie said she is very impressed her mom found her true love in high school and they have stayed together since.
“I think it’s weird because I can’t envision myself dating or marrying anyone from high school, but I think it’s awesome it can happen at Blue Valley,” she said.
Mackenzie said it has become a competition among her family on who can win the most State titles or have their names up in the gym.
“My dad was a swimmer and a tennis player, so his name is up in the school,” she said. “My mom was a cheerleader, so she was always a part of winning all the kinds of sports. So now it’s a competition between my parents, my brother and me.”
Mackenzie said she hopes to be able to carry on the tradition by having her children one day attend BV as well.
“I am probably not going to go to college around here,” she said. “But, I think it would be awesome to have a family and have them go here, too.”