Heading into the 2017-18 school year, Southwestern High School principal Danita Ellis was excited about the upcoming celebration of the school’s 25th anniversary.
It was going to be a special school year to pay homage to an institution that has had to find it’s way out of the shadow of its big brother school – Pulaski County High School. And to that point, the local institution was referred to as ‘Pulaski Southwestern’ by almost everyone outside the local area for a good part of those 25 years.
The school’s principal had a detailed agenda of events to honor the school’s past students, teachers, coaches and administrators.
It was going to be a 25-year anniversary celebration that told a story of a school that, for many years, had to play the underdog role in its’ statewide acceptance – in the classroom and on the athletic fields.
But in a span of six days, the 2017-18 Southwestern High School boys basketball team gave the school a very powerful message of perseverance and resilience.
“This year’s basketball regional title is extra special in this celebratory year because it just keeps on validating the positive tone of the year,” Ellis stated. “We started the year just trying to engage alumni, celebrate past accomplishments, and honor all the community that started our school in 1993.”
“It takes time, commitment, and hard work to build strong programs and traditions in a school,” Ellis explained. “Being able to recognize the efforts of so many this year has been exciting for our staff and students. We are so proud of all of our athletes, coaches, parents, and community for their efforts to build and sustain programs that promote leadership, strong work ethic, and character.”
For the Southwestern High School student body, this past week has been a whirlwind of emotions, anticipation, and celebration after their boys basketball team pulled off the ultimate ‘underdog’ region championship win.
“The mood has been so upbeat by all students and staff,” Ellis gleamed. “It has been such a rush of excitement by all for this team and coaches. Everyone has recognized the grit and determination of this team and truly have just cheered for them. The whole place celebrated. It is an awesome day to be a Warrior.”
The Southwestern High School boys basketball team has a full day of Warrior Walks and pep rallies. They were cheered on with by students at Oak Hill, Nancy, Burnside, Southern and in their own hallways of Southwestern. After their local celebrations, the Warriors took a charter bus to Lexington – en route to their final destination of Rupp Arena .
Southwestern principal Danita Ellis was extremely proud of her student section and the support of the community in the Warriors’ regional championship win, and she felt their presence made an impact on the team’s positive outcome.
“The Warrior Nation at the region championship game was by far the best effort yet of our students at a game this year,” Ellis commented. “I am so proud of them supporting this team in true ‘Warrior Nation’ style. The Southwestern community is always proud and shows up to support our teams, and we are thankful and appreciative of all the support for the team/coaches and especially the six seniors.”
“I heard the team saying how much it meant to have so much support – it really pushed them through the tournament,” Ellis added. “The team could feel and hear the crowd’s presence.”
Ellis explained how the Warrior basketball team’s dramatic win will create a lifetime of memories for the players, coaches, fans and the students.
“To win the region in such an exciting game keeps pushing students to keep working hard every day to show the best of who they are,” Ellis stated. “That kind of momentum stays with you and gives confidence in all aspects of the educational experience. There is power in positivity.”