Stadiums across Colorado lit up on Monday night as schools and districts sought to offer a beacon of hope to their students.
From Bennett to Steamboat Springs, local stadiums turned on their lights as they responded to an idea from CHSAA assistant commissioner Adam Bright to show students we are thinking of them, even as schools remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"High schools are so often the centerpiece of a community," Bright said. "Shining the lights lets our communities and students know we miss them and look forward to being back. When this is over, these lights will be on and the stadiums will fill as we resume life as normal and celebrate our communities through high school athletics and activities."
"Seeing empty stadiums with lights on in other parts of the country on social media, I thought it would be a great way to engage our Colorado high school communities," Bright added. "I wanted to see our social media feeds filled with Colorado stadiums being the light for Colorado so I consulted with a couple of schools across the state to create a 'Be The Light' challenge for our schools to compete in."
It even spawned a hashtag: #bethelightCO.
Steamboat Springs athletic director Luke DeWolfe sent the following message to his school community: "Last night the lights at Gardner Field were turned as a beacon of solidarity that signifies our commitment to kids, and our community. The lights burned for 11 minutes (one minute for each day we have been out of school). Together we will continue to shine."
Said District 11 district athletic director Chris Noll: "The school is the hub of a community and kids love being at school. They might not always love class, but most of them love being at school and being around their peers and friends and staff members. Colorado Springs D11 is excited to participate in #BeTheLightCO as a way for us to tell our kids that we miss them and we are thinking of them! Even though we might not be together, we are still there for not only them, but the families of D11. "
Taking part on Monday night included:
Durango, which wrote that "our stadium misses you, our halls miss you, our classrooms miss you!"
DHS Students - Our stadium misses you, our halls miss you, our classrooms miss you! We light the lights for you tonight students. We miss you and know you’re going to get through this dark chapter. There will be light once again in our stadium! #bethelightCO @AdamCHSAA @CHSAA pic.twitter.com/K6JqS8uqmi
— 9R Durango Athletics & Activities (@9RDurangoAD) March 31, 2020
— SailorsAthletics (@SteamboatAD) March 31, 2020
Colorado Springs District 11, which put together a video:
Sierra, which wrote, "Let this be a light of hope and assurance that you are on our hearts and in our minds."
— Sierra Athletics (@SierraHSsports) March 31, 2020
“Bennett Tiger Family we are leaving the lights on for you! Let this be a light of hope and assurance that you are on our hearts and in our minds. We will run the lights every weekday night from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Paul Reed Field”. #bethelightCO pic.twitter.com/BQUDeI34pA
— Adam Bright (@AdamCHSAA) March 31, 2020
Now the hope is that other schools and school districts jump in and take part.
"More and more lights across Colorado will shine bright over the coming days as a symbol of hope and assurance that our communities are in our thoughts," Bright said. "I'm proud of the sense of camaraderie our Colorado high schools share and will enjoy this challenge lighting up stadiums in solidarity of great days ahead across the state."
UPDATE: On Tuesday night, the movement continued to grow.