Highland Rambler

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Highland Rambler

Highland Rambler

Defending the H-Rock Turns Aggressive

Hannah Pace
Student government repaints the rock with the traditional “H”.

What started as an innocent and fun Highland tradition of defending the H-Rock quickly turned into something much more violent and dangerous for Highland students when they realized lasers were being pointed at their faces and bodies by East students from above them on the mountain. 

On October 10th, at 10:30 PM, Highland students gathered atop and around the H-Rock above Foothill Drive, planning to defend the rock from getting painted with an “E” before the rivalry football game against the East Leopards. But the night turned violent when East students showed up with airsoft BB guns, pellet guns, fireworks, and slingshots, according to Highland students at the scene. 

Highland students came with bags of food, expecting a simple food fight. 

Several Highland students were injured, including one who had a pellet lodged in his back from one of the East student’s pellet guns. 

“Our plan was to just stop them from painting on the H,” Highland senior Grace Davis said. 

Defending the H Rock is not unusual. Students from Highland often guard the rock before the rivalry game, dating back decades. For most, it is a fun tradition. 

Highland students met just before coming up to the H, and decided their best tactic would be to use bags of food—like soups, vinegar, condiments, etc.–to throw down onto East students trying to get on top of the rock with their paint. Food fights and water balloon fights are typical as students from both schools try to claim the H Rock. 

But this time, things became much more serious. 

“When I saw [the East students coming down from the mountain], I realized how unprepared we were, and how outnumbered we were, and how in danger we were,” Davis said. 

Highland SBO President John Pearce was shot with a paintball gun while trying to put out a fire that was started after East students shot fireworks that lit a field on fire. 

“The firework was bad. [East] shot the fireworks, and I saw a bush on fire and so I go running towards it to try and put it out, and that’s when they shot me with the paintball gun,” SBO President John Pearce said. 

This was not at all what Pearce expected. 

“It was supposed to be a friendly food fight. We thought they were just going to have water balloons,” Pearce said. “We brought soup to a gun fight.” 

Though the fire was quickly stomped out, this is where most Highland students realized the severity of the situation and started running and sliding down the mountain, hoping to reach their cars and drive away from the chaos. Some Highland students, however, were fired up by the situation, and left the rock to vandalize East students’ cars. 

During the chaos, a member of the community surrounding the H Rock called the police who arrived on scene. Students have been questioned but no arrests have been made. 

For the Highland student government, protecting the H Rock is a tradition but also a means to save on hours of work repainting the rock after it is vandalized. The paint is also expensive, so the students want to make sure the H Rock stays black and white. 

“It’s disappointing that others paint the H rock as a prank, knowing the amount of work our student government does to paint it each year,” Highland principal Jeremy Chatterton said.  

More than anything, Pearce is hoping that the events that came from defending the H-Rock don’t break the tradition of painting it.  

“The H-Rock is tradition, it’s a huge deal and that would be a huge loss not only to the school, but the whole community,” Pearce said. “There are so many alumni around the neighborhood [that care about the rock]. It’s a huge thing.” 

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