The student news site of East Mecklenburg High School

The Eagle

Principal Parker’s popularity prompts Eagle pride

Photo+courtesy+of+Jonathan+Koricke%2C+Silverlux+Photography.+
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Koricke, Silverlux Photography.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Koricke, Silverlux Photography.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Koricke, Silverlux Photography.

Story by Kate Carroll, Staff Writer

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Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Steph Curry are all considered celebrities by normal standards, but at East Meck, the top celebrity is Rick Parker, where students have an uncanny fascination with their principal.

“I love that he is so student oriented,” said Student Congress member Natalie Goretti. “You never see him shut up in his office. He’s always somewhere around the school.”

Parker is famous for his costumes, student section selfies, and inspirational quotes.

“I think it really began when I started doing all the fun stuff in the student section,” Parker said.

Selfies, chants and crazy themed outfits are all typical of Parker at Friday night football games, and the students love it. Crazy costumes are not reserved for football, but also for spirit week, where East Meck can count on their principal to go all out. Some of Parker’s most iconic ensembles include Woody from Toy Story, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and an amazing rendition of the “tacky tourist” look.

“I love that I can relate to and have fun with my students, but still have that line that they know not to cross,” Parker said. “I am still their principal.”

He tries to make sure that students know that he cares, even if it calls for a little tough love.
Student Congress picked up on the Parker craze and spearheaded the movement in the 2015-2016 school year by making a giant cardboard cutout of Parker’s head, which made its debut at the 2015 homecoming game. The Parker heads were inspired by college basketball games, where fans hold up cutouts of the coaches and players to spark some spirit.

When the head is out of sight, Congress members and student fans often repeat his favorite quotes, like “Plan to win, prepare to win, expect to win,” or even tag their social media posts with the hashtag, #inparkerwetrust.

“It’s funny, but spirited,” Goretti said. “He can laugh at himself, which is what we love.”

Students love the Parker head, but what is the opinion from the man himself?

“When I first saw it, I thought it was just like what colleges do!” Parker said “I think they are all in good spirit and really positive, it was honestly an honor.”

Another creation from the Parker fans that really moved Parker was a shirt with an image of Parker and the words “In Parker We Trust.”

The shirt was created by East Meck graduate Angel Cho during the 2015-2016 school year.  Parker was able to get the 2016 graduating seniors to sign the shirt as a memory of them.

“That was a really humbling moment for me,” Parker said “to know that my kids care that much.”

Most freshmen have yet to experience Parker in action, or the student fan club.

“I haven’t really noticed an obsession,” freshman DJ Burnett said. “I don’t have any relationship with him right now, but I do feel like he really cares about us, and I’m really excited to have him as a principal.”

As the legend continues to plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win for this school year, his fame will continue to grow among the students and staff. To all his fans, Parker has a few words:

“Thank you for your support and believing in me,” Parker said, “you will always be an Eagle to me.”

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