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Henley High School’s student section, the SWARM, won best student section in Oregon in the OSAA winter video competition.

Since freshman year, Ram Rey Duran and his classmates have been an energetic group.

This year, their senior year, they wanted to make an impact. They started the SWARM.

“We had an amazing opportunity to lead our student section,” Duran, 17, said. “It took off.”

The hornet SWARM student section took off in such a big way, the Oregon School Activities Association named Henley the No. 1 student section in the state. The SWARM won the OSAA winter We Are No. 1! video competition. On YouTube and Facebook, the video has received more than 16,000 views.

On Friday Henley alumnus and OSAA assistant executive director, Kyle Stanfield, presented the school with a banner proclaiming Henley the winter 2016 best student section in the state.

“You make this place very intimidating,” Stanfield told the students Friday, speaking of how other teams might feel in the Henley gym. “But you also keep it fun, keep it energetic, keep it positive.”

“It’s OK to be humble, but sometimes it’s also OK to shout it out to your neighbors in the Basin,” said principal Jack Lee.

Klamath Union High School won the best student section in the state in 2014 and 2015. Duran said that was another reason to get his fellow Henley hornets involved.

With seniors leading the way, the SWARM became a force at Henley High basketball games this year. They got underclassmen involved with T-shirts, themes and pizza. They had as black out and white out games, where all the students wore one color.

“When you see as large a student section as the SWARM all wearing the same theme, it makes everyone feel unified,” Duran said. “It was a snowball effect. We had more and more people come, until it was the norm … A huge majority of the student body became a part of it. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Henley leadership advisor Bobbie Sue Britton helped guide the students to produce the video, made from photos by art teacher Carlos Becerra and video clips from students. Britton said the video showed the school-wide and community-wide spirit at Henley.

The Henley Booster Club and students decided on the themes for games, leadership students planned events and ordered SWARM shirts for students, staff helped with ideas and cheers and the Henley High band learned new songs to accompany the cheers.

“It really was a school-wide effort that resulted in a great student section that we are all proud of,” Britton said.

Stanfield didn’t know how many other schools were in the running in the competition. In the past there have been four or five school videos in each OSAA We Are No. 1! competition.

As he gets ready to graduate, Duran hopes to pass the school spirit torch to the next class.

“Just keep the momentum going forward. We laid a great foundation this year,” he said. “Keep our energy high. Make it an event every student wants to go to.”

Gerry OBrien, Editor