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Hi-Line Living: Anime offers avenue to HHS spirit


Last updated 1/17/2020 at 11:47am

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

"Havre High School was the first high school in the state to have an Anime Club," Havre High School teacher and Anime Club advisor Victoria Proctor said.

The group began through Proctor's youngest daughter Hope Proctor, who told her mother about six years ago, when Hope was a junior in high school, she felt that a large, widely diverse group of kids was being neglected in the activities community. 

"She felt that the creation of a club would invite these kids to become a part of the 'HHS-spirit-filled' community and to know they also were a valued part of this community," Victoria Proctor said. "She first visited the HHS principal at that time, now Assistant Superintendent Craig Mueller, with her idea and he was impressed with her plan for the club and was very supportive."

Proctor said Hope authored the club's format and presented her idea to Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees, which then approved the club's formation.

She added that Hope has now graduated college with a degree in Chinese language, a minor in Chinese political science and is a school teacher in Chengdu, China. 

Havre High has 27 members in the club.

"I think Anime Club is a place where everyone can come together and just enjoy themselves, also watch something they like, find out new animes and find new friends as well," Havre High School sophomore Margie Horinek said. "It's a really fun place to hang out at lunch. I think everyone here enjoys it a lot."

Members of the club meet every Thursday during their lunch period in Proctor's room to watch episodes of anime then the group not only discusses the storyline, but also what relevance the episode may have on everyday life. 

"It is a venue where students share their most special anime or manga; it has become a warehouse where students are exchanging their thoughts, ideas and experiences with anime," Proctor said. "Anime is a Japanese - now an Asian - phenom. Television or movie animation that usually is derived from a manga or the book form of a moral story."

She said the club is watching "Full Metal Alchemist," which is a story of two brothers who broke the Law of Equivalent Exchange and are seeking to restore their lives through a series of difficult choices and decisions.

She added that they also discuss community service such as raising money for Havre's Feed Me Sheep. In the past, the club has made a cash donation to the organization.

"I appreciate how anime excitedly brings together such diverse groups of people," she said. "You mention anime to a stranger and you've created an instant friend as that person will share their most favorite anime and what it meant to him or her; almost as if it defines them. Anime has that kind of communicative power."

Havre High School freshman Richard Fast said his favorite thing about anime club is watching the shows and hanging out with his friends.

Proctors said anime teaches students about real-life lessons, increases their social awareness of real-world problems and demonstrates the values of relationships.

"The latter is important in our digital world where students tend to self-isolate. Not to mention the introduction of a culture different than our own. Anime also teaches students that hard work, patience, friendship, family and teamwork are still important qualities," she said. "Students also learn about the sense of a spiritual optimism through a singular journey in which a student may associate.

Havre High School senior Kodi Sinclair said what she learns the most out of anime is how to write a story, how to come up with a story and with the art on how to draw.

"With anime," Havre High School freshman Justin Lickfold said, "I learned how to create a setting (within a story) and how to create characters. 'Cause what I found most interesting about the anime, other than the art's style, is how the story is presented to me and I think the good stories allow me to try and connect with the characters that make me want to learn something myself."

Proctor said that anime is used as a creative outlet in many ways and some of the points are:

• It has something for everyone.  This genre makes use of a "magical" realism that combines animation and live-action.

• It boasts strong female characters while not neglecting the male roles.

• Anime is packed with action and emotion and smoothly transits between both.

• Soundtrack is important. Think of the beat of "Pokemon" how it sticks in your brain or the beautiful melody of "Graveyard of the Fireflies."  

• The storylines are not confined to one space; there is an endless possibility of story lines, characters and worlds that can be created.

• Its impact on Western animation.

• It has nique and interesting characters.  

• Amazing and colorful animation are coupled with dynamic storylines.

"This club provides an outlet for an extremely diverse population of students and to see these students together interacting as a homogenous group is gratifying," she said. "For some students, this is their only way to be connected to the HHS activities community and for others, it is one of many clubs in which they participate. All students need a place to feel like they belong and the Anime Club is that for any student who joins our meetings."

"If you enjoy anime and hanging out with people, it's a pretty cool club to be a part of," Havre High School junior Gabriel Edmonds.

Havre High School senior Angelle Roen said students should join anime because the club is very open and welcoming immediately.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

"It doesn't matter if we have no idea who you are or if you came from the town over and everybody knows who you are. This group is the one that will automatically make you feel like you belong here and you have a purpose and it doesn't matter what you did, what you do. As long as you like anime you are welcome," she said.

Students interested in joining Anime Club can visit Proctor's room, 44, at noon Thursday's during lunch.

"What is special to me about the club is that students share with me their favorite anime," Proctor said. "For many of these students the characters within these anime are their personal (or) spiritual journeys because they have experienced an event similar to what is expressed in the story line. I feel honored how they confide in me about these analogies."


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