FHS vs. HSE: an interview with the principals


Linda Chang, Reporter

Linda Chang– For the print feature story “FHS vs. HSE,” interviews were conducted with the principals of both rival schools, FHS principal Jason Urban and HSE principal Matt Kegley. This is a Q&A from the full interview with each of the principals and how they both responded to each question.

Q: Do you think there is a rivalry between FHS and HSE? Why or why not?

A: Urban- “Absolutely, and I love it. I think the rivalry has made us such a better school overall. I think that it forced both schools to really improve their offerings and improve their student performance. And I’ll also say how much fun it is on Friday when we play them to walk in that stadium and see one whole side of blue, and one whole side of red and so many students engaged in that. It’s a great community event that brings them together and I think that rivalry is what drives that. People wanna see who’s gonna win, Fishers or HSE, who’s better? And I think it’s a great event.”

Kegley- “Well yeah, I think there’s a rivalry. And I think it’s a healthy rivalry. I think that whenever you have two schools that are pretty close together and are similar in what the schools are like and compete at a very high level against each other. I think that, that has all the makings of a rivalry. I think that our two schools fit that description and so whenever we compete against each other, it always seems to bring out the best in the competition.”

Q: What are some differences in academics, athletics and amenities?

A: Urban- “Obviously, one of the differences between the schools is the age of the schools. You look at HSE’s tradition; their buildings are traditional buildings. They established a lot of tradition. Our high school is relatively new so we’ve got a kind of new feel to the school. I think everyone is kind of excited to shape our identity. As far as academics, our schools both offer the same courses and we offer the same curriculum. And both are high performing schools. We’ve both have a lot to be proud of with our student performance. I think it’s been interesting in athletics about how we’ve won state championships in areas where they haven’t.  And the other way where they’ve won state championships in areas that we haven’t and I think that’s been interesting to see those differences.”

Kegley- “I don’t know in terms of the differences between the two schools, I don’t know that there are any great differences between the schools. I think we have similar student populations. I mean obviously Fishers is a little newer because it wasn’t built that long ago. But I think as far as amenities within the schools they’re pretty much the same. You know, I think the one thing that we’ve probably have is tradition. Just because you know, we’ve been around longer. And so there’s more identity with the folks because of the time that Hamilton Southeastern has been around but you know, over time, Fishers will also have that as well.”

Q: Why do you think students tend to create a rivalry or competition out of things like school?

A: Urban- “Where does that come from right? Well, you’re all competing for the same resources right? So that’s where rivalry is born. It’s a competition of resources. And certainly, what I think is really unique about this rivalry is that these kids have grown up together. They were in the same youth leagues, they’ve gone to same elementary schools and I think everyone wants to say “No, my school’s better!” you know, “We’re the better school!” I think it’s great that each school has that much pride in who they are, what they’ve built and the culture. And I think that’s how it’s born. Out of pride and I think that’s great!”

Kegley- “I think that, I don’t know, I think that a lot of it is born out of pride in what you have. Students at Fishers High School, I’m sure, has a lot of pride in their school and I think the same could be said for students at HSE. And so whenever you have a lot of pride in what you are a part of, and its part of your identity, you wanna defend that.  I think that helps build a rivalry. It’s the whole conversation of who’s got the better school. And that always comes out of a really positive thing and that’s pride, that the students in both high schools have for their respected high school.”

Q: What is your perspective of HSE/FHS?

A: Urban- “I have a lot of respect. One of the great things about having a sister school, a rivalry school is that I have a principal there that kind of has the exact same student clientele and teacher clientele. So I can pick up the phone and say, “Matt, how did you deal with this?” and vice versa. It’s really nice to have that person who is sitting in a very similar type of school as you are. So, I have a lot of respect for the administration there and tremendous amount of respect for the teachers. They have some, as we do, talented teachers there. That would be my perspective of HSE.”

Fishers faces HSE in sports and academics, and because of that they are known as rival competitors.

Kegley- “I think it’s a great school. I think the neatest thing about our community is, is that most of our kids you know, through grade school on up, they’ve all went to school together. One of the things that I think is the neatest is that when going to a competition or something between the two high schools is seeing how the participants are towards each other after. Even though everybody is a competitor while the game or whatever is going on, but after it’s over, you know, it’s like they’re really good friends, like they are going to meet for dinner afterwards. But I think Fishers is great school and I think they’ve got a lot of obviously really good students and teachers just like a lot of our schools in our district. We are very fortunate to have another high school like Fishers in the district.”