FREDERICKTOWN -- For some folks, recognition comes with a listing in “Who’s Who.”
But in Fredericktown there’s nothing like the thrill of being Freddie Flocked.
Drive around the village or nearby countryside and you’ll spot them: nearly 20 brightly colored Freddie Birds clustered on a lawn.
The Freddie Flock does not head south for the winter. Noooo. They stick around throughout the school year to celebrate students, staff and the entire Fredericktown Local Schools community.
“We’re trying to focus on building a sense of school and community spirit. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response,” said Superintendent Susan Hayward, who introduced the flocking idea when she joined the district in 2019.
Since August, Hayward and elementary principal Matt Caputo have nearly completed Freddie Flocking the lawns of approximately 100 kindergarten students.
Five-year-old Natalie Carpenter was among the first to discover the flock at her house.
“Coming home and seeing our yard full of Freddie Birds, she was in disbelief and so excited,” said her mother, Melissa. “Since then our kids have enjoyed going through town and spotting the Freddie Flock.”
When the birds leave after a few days, one stays behind with this message:
We are so glad you’re a part of FLS,
We think you are truly the very best.
Freddie sent you this spirit to decorate your lawn,
In just a few days they will move on.
We will leave one when they disappear,
To keep that Freddie spirit near.
Caputo said the Freddie Flock has been a “tremendous success.”
“They have created an awesome sense of community belonging for our students,” he said. “I can personally say that there has been a sense of pride, joy and acceptance for our students and their families.”
Soon Hayward will be joined by high school principal Brent Garee and assistant principal Adam Brown to place the plastic, weatherproof flock on the lawns of the 2022 senior class. They did the same for last year’s graduates.
“The Freddie Flockings have had a great impact on the morale of both our students and staff,” Garee said. “Parents and students flood Facebook with their excitement. Staff who live in the district are extremely grateful and proud to have been flocked.
"It’s a great initiative that has brought the building together during the trying times of the Covid19 environment.”
The Freddie Flock also has landed at the village offices, police station, library and churches.
The birds have had an incredibly positive impact, Caputo said.
“This effort makes Fredericktown Local Schools stand out among the rest. We truly are Freddie Strong.”