Cooper Pugmire leads Farmington High School through a challenging yearApr 05, 2021 01:08PM ● By Peri Kinder
It certainly wasn’t the year Cooper Pugmire expected when he was elected 2020-21 Student Body President at Farmington High School on March 11, 2020. He remembers the date because just a few hours later the NBA shut its games down due to COVID-19.
Fast forward to March of 2021 when the 18-year-old senior helped lead the student body through an indescribable year of change and flexibility.
One benefit of going into student government this year was he’d never done it before and didn’t know what a normal year was supposed to be like. It gave him an advantage as they planned events, assemblies and activities.
“I didn’t know what I was doing in the first place,” he said. “We spent the summer planning virtual events. The principal wanted us to get kids interested in doing something.”
Starting with homecoming events, student body officers created fun ways to engage people and keep them healthy. They planned a homecoming pickleball tournament and a drive-in movie night – and students showed up in droves.
Contrasted to previous years when student body officers tried everything to get people to attend, this year, people were being turned away. Telling students they couldn’t come into the game or activity was discouraging.
“It was so hard telling people no,” Pugmire said. “We had people begging to get in but couldn’t because of COVID restrictions. It was so disappointing.”
With the help of Student Body Government Advisors LeeAnn Hyer and Alaina Allred, Pugmire and the officers organized a school fundraiser that broke all previous records. The student body raised money for the Davis Education Foundation to help the Teen Center, serving 1,100 homeless students in the Davis School District.
As part of the fundraising event, Pugmire restructured assemblies to get the most involvement possible. The Dash-For-Cash project raised $5,000 in five minutes, and live-streamed events brought in even more. The school surpassed the goal of $15,000, bringing in $23,000 for the Teen Center.
“The officers did a really fantastic job collecting money and getting the word out,” Hyer said. “It was the most successful year for our fundraiser. It let the kids understand that invisibility exists, that there were really kids in need in our area.”
While COVID took away normal high school activities, Pugmire led the officers to create events like the stress-relieving week, where students were given candy, leis, and bubble wrap to pop, and organized trivia contests to connect students.
FHS started the school year with students attending only twice a week, and it closed four times during the second term. But Pugmire kept his positive attitude, encouraging the student body to keep spirits high.
“Cooper has been amazing when it comes to rolling with the punches and being flexible,” Allred said. “He will feel disappointment but in the next moment he’ll ask what needs to be done.”
This graduating class is the first where students have attended FHS for all three years, described by Allred as “The first full-blooded Phoenix to graduate.” Pugmire is honored to represent this group of students who endured so much to keep grades, expectations and hopes high.
“As the first class (at FHS), we’ve accomplished so much and started a legacy of excellence both athletically and academically,” he said. “It’s been so hard but every senior learned something this year like it’s the little things that make us happy. Finding your own thing is so important to finding who you are.”
Pugmire, the son of Daren and Katie Pugmire, said he’s learned many skills this year including delegation, confidence and leadership. He enjoys outdoor activities, like skiing, and was a member of the FHS mountain biking team.
After taking concurrent enrollment classes in business management and marketing, he hopes to further his interest in business by attending college after he serves a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I hope the juniors and sophomores know me as a kid that was a positive influence. That people know me not for the position I hold but the positive person I want to be,” he said. “I was excited to work with people who are just incredible and will go on to do incredible things.”