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Hometown Homecoming: Small-town traditions help keep growing schools close
October 25, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Collin County
VYPE DFW Staff Reporting
Where the Dallas North Tollway ends, one of the state’s fastest growing suburbs begins. Sandwiched between Dallas Parkway and Preston Road, lies downtown Prosper. There’s no square in Prosper, no typical Main Street lined with businesses housed in historic buildings. There is, however, a cozy block of booming companies that provide a perfect venue for the town’s high school homecoming parade. It seems all, if not most, of Prosper’s 12,000+ residents are attending or participating in the 2-mile long parade, complete with fire trucks, tractors, classic cars, pickup trucks pulling floats and, of course, cheerleaders, the band and football team. It’s everything you’d expect for a hometown homecoming, made ever the more authentic, as the parade travels along a two-lane road with rusty grain silos in the background.
The parade ends in a much more modern setting, that’s none-the-less authentic for a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb: a Texas-sized, tech-savvy Prosper High School, considered by residents and school administrators as a facility for the entire community.
A mini pep rally ensues, and VYPE speaks with head football coach, Kent Scott, about small towns, community support and Prosper’s rapid growth. Being with PISD for the last seven years, Coach Scott has grown with the town, including two classification changes — 2A to 3A, in 2006 and 3A to 4A, this year. His 2008 team, led by Hunter Nix, won the 3A state championship. “That team just fit together and enjoyed working,” said Scott. “They [the team] almost took on Hunter’s personality and just weren’t going to lose.” Possessing many of those qualities, this year’s team has endured the move to 4A quite successfully and is currently undefeated, heading into a tough district game against Frisco Centennial.
“Community and parent support is outstanding. We have tremendous young men and women in the halls of our schools,” Scott said. “You’d think that with the growth we’ve experienced and with people moving in from all across the country and state, that it might not stay that way. You can walk down our halls, and it’s very apparent that we have good, genuine kids, who aren’t mean-spirited. To me, those are the most special things about being here.”
Parents are parents, regardless of geography, and everybody wants the best for their children; but, as any community grows, change is inevitable. In 2006, Prosper had 500 high school students and 26 varsity football athletes. Today, approximately 1,400 students attend Prosper High School with a whopping 215 playing football, including 45 on varsity. The multitude of kiddos wearing Prosper football (and cheerleading) uniforms, during the parade, is evidence that the Eagles will not go wanting for future players and fans.
While Prosper’s Eagle Stadium would be considered the norm for high school football, it stands in stark contrast to Allen’s incredible Eagle Stadium. Prosper’s stadium features a fantastic turf playing surface, but there’s not a multi-level press box.
Writers covering a Prosper home game are likely be sitting among the visiting team’s fans, under a makeshift canopy, or on the sidelines. It’s an appealing perch, in a real hometown stadium that’s as cozy as downtown Prosper.
Small towns like Prosper seldom make the news, unless they have high-profile residents or events that can be sensationalized to fill the news cycle. VYPE is “Varsity Youth Performing Excellence.” To that end, we prefer to celebrate accomplishments of students and teams, like the student-athlete leaders from Prosper’s 2011 roster:
• Marcus Stroud (DE/LB) now attends Princeton. Stroud was a two-year starter and team captain for the Eagles and a four-year member of the leadership council. He was involved in the teen-court program in McKinney and has aspirations of becoming an attorney. Stroud was considered as hard a worker and inspirational leader as the football program has ever seen. He was a very emotional player, who deeply cared about the team and his teammates.
• Cale Brewer (K) is attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Cale was also a two-year starter and a leader, not only on the football field, but as a captain on the soccer team, as well. Brewer was heavily recruited by Texas Tech, offering an opportunity to kick in the Big 12, but opted for West Point to attend the academy’s top-flight academic programs.
• Other former 2011 Eagles include: Conor Croxville, playing at the Rose-Hulen Institute of Technology and Jamal Murray, on the varsity squad at Trinity University in San Antonio. Both schools are considered fine academic institutions, in their own right.
Most schools have similar success stories both on and off the field. To this point, Prosper has managed to maintain its spacious feel and country attitude, as it transitions from a sleepy farming community to an upscale suburb. Its school reflects similar success, even as enrollment escalates.
The parade route encompasses the town’s past and present, with a peek into its future. The bond package that built Prosper High School was passed, overwhelmingly, by 80% of the district’s taxpayers. That’s the type of community support Prosper must maintain, as it inevitably grows into another North Texas suburb.
After winning their homecoming 38-36 over Frisco Centennial, in what many claim will be the game of the year, Prosper head football coach, Kent Scott, shared his thoughts with VYPE: