March 5, 2020
Hundreds of students crowded the gym on Friday, January 31st, cheering as they took part in Atholton’s first winter pep rally in recent memory, made possible by SGA’s executive board and members.
The winter pep rally was a surprising addition to the Atholton school year and it was obvious that the SGA and other groups like Poms and Dance worked hard on the event. “It was a good refresher,” said senior Yuna Kim. “I like that we get to get out of class and also have a good time.”
Kicking off the pep rally were the winter sports teams, such as basketball and track, as they ran into the gym doing flips and group huddles. “It feels great… to run in with your team,” said Isha Santhosh, a senior and the Executive Board Co-President of SGA.“It’s a really special feeling,” a feeling that SGA thought winter sports deserved just as much as the fall sports.
Senior Dance Company followed with a dance full of stunts and energy, enhanced by popular music from throughout the decade such as “Crank That” by Soulja Boy and “Without You” by Usher. After the performance, the crowd was shocked by Atholton’s own mascot, The Raider, running in and joining the Dance Team in a series of dances inspired by viral “TikToks.” The new pep rally was already going well, allowing the students to have fun and “show more school spirit” according to Yuna Kim.
The student body then cheered on their class during the floor hockey games, where seniors competed against sophomores and the juniors faced the freshmen. It was a race against time, as balls rolled into each other’s court and the games often crossed as the teams tried their best to score. The upperclassmen were victorious and faced each other in the final round. The game was intense; the ball traveled back and forth but never seemed to find the back of the net. In the waning seconds, the seniors were able to fit the ball between the junior goaltender’s legs and went on to win the game. The class of 2020 was enthusiastic; chants and exclamations of their victory echoed throughout the gymnasium.
After the hockey tournament, Atholton’s POMS team took the floor. Senior Makayla Farace’s beautiful baton work impressed the crowd. The performance was amazing, complete with flips and fouettés en tournants.
The game that followed was definitely the most creative, as students from each class waddled into the gym dressed in penguin costumes and flippers. The contestants ran in their flippers to a table where their classmates put on gloves and tried to open packets of Swedish Fish with their teeth. The sophomores were first to get to the final segment of the race: rolling, belly down, on scooters towards the finish line. The sophomores never looked back, as they claimed first place, the freshmen not far behind in second, juniors in third, and seniors in fourth. It wasn’t time to wind down yet, as the next game was being prepared, students jumped to their feet, hands high in the air as they attempted to catch one of the t-shirts thrown into the crowd.
Then it was time for the main event: volleyball. The teams raced to score more points as the timer ticked down to zero in the bout between a team of freshman and sophomores and a team of juniors and seniors. Ultimately, the upperclassmen trumped the underclassmen and moved on to their next challenge: the teachers. The crowd was rowdy throughout, with the teachers struggling to get the ball over the net. Despite Mr. Decker’s best efforts, the team was put in a hole they could never climb out of. The upperclassmen were the last ones standing–their jubilation the final scene of the pep rally.
The purpose of this new pep rally, according to Mr. Stuppy, the sponsor of the SGA Executive Board, “was to get our students hyped and also incorporate groups that don’t get that same level of recognition that groups do at the fall pep rally” such as those who play winter sports.
A lot goes into these pep rallies, according to Santhosh, such as planning different activities and spirit days, making playlists, enlisting the help of dance groups, along with getting it all approved. When there are “time constraints” like with the winter pep rally, getting “a lot of participation and advertising out… can be difficult” especially when pep rallies need to be engaging and fun. It is clear that pep rallies are important, especially this new winter pep rally. “It can add a lot to our school without changing a lot,” according to Mr. Stuppy.
Pep rallies promote school spirit, reminding us that we are one school, one body that has to support and lift each other up, and the winter pep rally was a great way of reminding the students of that.