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Finding just the right words

The music has been picked for the East Ridge High School Song. All it needs now are words. An ERHS song lyric-writing contest is under way. An mp3 of the pre-existing East Ridge High School song sans lyrics can be downloaded at Submitted graphic

One of the last pieces of the East Ridge High School identity -- the school song -- needs to be put into place.

While a melody has already been chosen, the lyrics are being left up to the ones who are the most important part of a school's identity, its students.

"The school song is as important as any other aspect of the identity of the school, a school song captures the values, spirit, energy, and attitude of a school, particularly if all the students know the song," ERHS choir director Chris Russell said.

"This is ultimately their school, and we believe that students have valid, creative, and insightful ideas and feedback."

A competition is being held now through Feb.13 in order to select the winning lyrics that will be incorporated into the already existing ERHS song, based on 1919's "Buckeye Battle Cry."

Russell said their goal for the winning song lyrics is that they will incorporate ad express the core values of ERHS: pride, aggressiveness, leadership, respect, brotherhood/sisterhood, strength, enthusiasm, determination, tradition, unity, trust, domination, power, fearlessness, focus, intimidation, intelligence and awareness.

A judging committee, made up of both students and staff, is being formed to pick the winning song lyrics based on the criteria; the judging criteria includes, the lyrics must fit the rhythmic scheme of the already existing melody, must use elements of ERHS identity, must avoid questionable text or double meanings, lyrics are applicable for various sports and activities, lyrics must be memorable and lyrics must reflect the values of ERHS.

The idea of writing lyrics to a school song that will be immortalized can be intimidating for students, even those in music, Russell said, but students shouldn't stress too much about it.

"If you think about it, we're asking students to submit a spirited poem to a specific rhyme scheme, not unlike what they already have to do for some forms of poetry assignments in their classes," he said. "The typical music student will have no greater advantage in putting lyrics to the song than a student who is not in music."

All lyrics submissions can be sent to: ERHS, School Song Lyric Entry, 4200 Pioneer Drive, Woodbury, MN 55029; e-mailed to; or faxed to 651) 458-6318.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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