Eleven days ago, Dumas High School in Texas started a trend that is now sweeping across Minnesota.
The school tweeted on March 24, they would be turning on their football stadium lights each night to unite their students and community together as the coronavirus continues its march through the nation.
The post on Twitter from @dumashstx is as follows: “To the students of Dumas ISD: Tonight and every weekday night from 8:00 to 9:00 we are going to burn our stadium lights for you ... as a symbol of hope and an assurance that you are on our hearts and minds. To the Great State of Texas: We challenge you to do the same. #bethelight’’
Schools across the state quickly jumped on board to do the same, The number of schools (including Mountain Iron-Buhl) was at 81 late Thursday afternoon and it continued to grow by the minute on Friday.
MI-B’s Becky Zubich, a parent of two Ranger student-athletes, tweeted the following Thursday: “We turn on the lights for you, MI-B students, families and friends! The lights are a symbol of hope and an assurance that you are in our hearts and on our minds. We will fill our stadium, classrooms and hallways again!’’ MI-B will turning on the football/softball field lights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
MI-B is the only Quad Cities school on the list as of press time Friday night. Other area schools include Deer River, Cloquet, Hermantown and Crosby-Ironton.
With the #bethelight movement growing, local residents are urged not to gather near or under the lights of their baseball, football or softball fields. Anyone viewing the lights in their town should do it from afar, while maintaining proper social distancing.
The idea is a great one as students, teachers, parents, coaches and the communities try to deal with schools being closed (except for online distance learning) and athletic events not currently being played.
The normal bond between students and their teachers and players and their coaches has been hampered, Teachers and coaches prefer face-to-face interaction, which is currently not possible with a stay at home order in Minnesota.
There was not shortage of Twitter activity as schools jumped at the chance to reach out to their students.
Hermantown Athletic Director Beth Clark tweeted the following: “Monday nights at 8:20 p.m. we will turn the lights on at Fichtner Field in support of our students, staff and community for 20 minutes and 20 seconds! We ask that you enjoy the lights from a distance and honor the guidelines of MDH. #BeTheLightMN #hawksflytogether’’
The Litchfield Blues baseball team said: “The lights at Optimist Park will be on tonight and all Fridays from 8:00-8:20. Please do not gather under the lights. Enjoy from afar, maintain proper social distancing and stay safe!’’
Waconia Baseball tweeted, “In honor of our wonderful teams, schools, and city, we are lighting up Lions Field from 8:00-9:50 tonight!’’
New Prague Area Schools put the focus on the gridiron. “We’re all about celebrating Friday evenings, under the lights!’’
The tweets are also encouraging other citizens to get involved by challenging them to put on their front lights to join in on this great initiative.
Still others posted photos of or live-streamed their distinctive fields under the lights as the movement kept on growing Friday evening.
Let’s make the #BeTheLightMN idea light up the state — for the sake of the students.