Trend setter: Dumas’ stadium lights bring statewide sign of hope to students


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Dumas challenged school’s statewide to burn their lights for one hour each night to show students hope during these crucial times around the United States of America. [Provided photo]

A sign of hope.

That was the vision Dumas principal Brett Beesley had driving back from Amarillo to Dumas on Tuesday night. Beesley, who’s in his eighth year as principal at the high school, has been feeling sad from the current state of the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down basically everything down across the globe, including school’s. When Beesley noticed how dark and gloomy Dumas looked when he was approaching the city Tuesday, the idea struck him to hit the lights at the stadium.

“The idea hit me, and I immediatly called football coach Aaron Dunnam” Beesley said. “I asked Aaron what he thought if we turned our football stadium lights on every night from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., to show the students in Dumas we’re thinking about them. Aaron loved it, and ran to the stadium and flipped them on. I then thought, why not challenge other school’s to do the same. It’s a way to show our kids we’ll be back, and a sign of hope.”

So Beesley took a picture of the lights on, and challenged not only his own school district but the entire state on Twitter, hoping the school’s would burn their lights to join in the hope. It was an instant hit. Wednesday night, school’s from across the state were posting photos of their football, baseball or softball stadium lights in full support.

“I saw it on social media, and I thought it was cool,” Gruver athletic director Terry Felderhoff said. I talked to our superintendent, and he agreed, so we joined in. It’s a way to let the students know we’re thinking about them during this difficult time, and they are not alone.”

Holliday Eagles football coach and athletic director Frank Johnson was in full support. His school was one of many outside of the Texas Panhandle to step up.

“We saw it on Twitter,” Johnson said. “Our superintendent also saw it. Wednesday afternoon we got together and agreed to turn them on. Judging from responses our comminity they appreciated it as well as the students. It’s inspiring.”

Dunnam, who recently completed his second year as the Dumas head football coach, leading the Demons to a 13-1 record and a state quarterfinal appearance, says he’s not shocked by Beesley’s innovative ways. Dunnam says that Beesley is the type of principal any educator wants to work for.

“Mr. Beesley a great leader,” Dunnam said. “He’s special to me. I have a senior, and her seeing these lights helps tremendously. Having a leader like Brett makes it that much better. He’s an ex-coach, and he’s been a huge part of a great job of helping change the culture in Dumas. I knew his idea would be a success and it’s shown with all these school’s across the state turning on their lights.”

Beesley hasn’t put a definite time table on how

long Dumas will turn on its lights each night. But for the foreseeable future students can expect them to be on the next two weeks.


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