Kennedy Burnett

Staff Reporter/Staff Photographer

28 April 2023

During 5th & 6th period on a seemingly normal school day, the gym bleachers are packed to the brim with gray, green, white, and black. Everyone is standing on their tippy toes in anticipation, but not a sound is stirring. Tension is in the air, you can smell it: fresh face paint and large clumps of sweaty students. Heat rises to the top of the stands; a low rumble from the audience sets the scene. A whistle cries out, above the quiet tension and in a matter of seconds all chaos breaks loose; an abrupt push of life, everyone and everything snaps into action. From the four corners of the room; a gray shirt, a green shirt, a white shirt, and a black shirt charge onto the gym floor. Gray slides quickly across the floor, green crashes into gray; knocking them off course, white avoids chaos and manages to steal what’s left behind in the scuffle, and black circles the perimeter; planning an attack. This is an introduction of what the Atholton spring pep rally looked and felt like.

“We started doing these spring pep rallies to answer the question of why not do it. It helps our student community remember: ‘hang on, there are things going on, and there are ways I can be involved, ways I can participate,” said Mr. Stuppy, the SGA advisor and coordinator for all of Atholton’s pep rallies. 

Atholton has two pep rallies every school year. The fall pep rally gets everyone acclimated to the new school year, and the spring pep rally gets students motivated to end off the school year. The spring pep rally highlights the end of the school year with a celebration for spring sports and performances by the Atholton dance company and pom squads. It features fun assembly games where all high schoolers, separated by their different grades, go head to head to find out who’s the best. Mr. Stuppy explained that SGA picks out the games, “based on what’s entertaining, fun to watch, and fun to participate in.” His goal is to make sure that many people can be involved in every pep rally game. This is why the last event of the spring pep rally was a crowd pleaser: Atholton’s annual teacher vs. student volleyball game. The volleyball game involved the most student participation from each grade. The game was very entertaining to watch because representatives from each grade worked together on the court to beat all other opponents before they faced off against the teachers, in the final showdown. 

Here’s how the school dynamics work: freshmen wear gray, sophomores wear green, juniors wear white, and seniors wear black. All of these colors are used to celebrate our school as a whole. The students go all out with their bold, personalized outfits embracing school spirit. They come to the gym, 5th period decked out in puffy tutus, flashy sunglasses, and vibrant face paint. The seniors take Atholton’s pep rallies seriously because this will be the last time that they ever get to experience a high school pep rally. “As a senior, I’ve become more engaged in all school activities, whether it’s pep rallies, football games, or homecoming,” stated senior, Christina Kodsi, vice president of the SGA, “especially towards the end of the year, it’s fulfilling to feel like you are a part of school in a larger capacity than just the classroom.” As much as seniors are ready to leave high school and move onto their college lives, they will miss high school traditions; so they proudly wear their colors, celebrate, and live in the moment. 

Pep rallies are one of the most significant times students readily participate in school activities. Pep rallies bring out the competitive spirit in students and teachers. Students rushed to fill up the Google form, while teachers are asked to participate in the main event: the teacher vs. student volleyball game. Mr. Decker, a returning player for the teacher’s side, briefly mentioned how competitive he is, “I like to break high school kid’s spirits with my volleyball skills. Jokes aside, everyone seems to forget that I used to play in college and that I was the AHS varsity coach for volleyball for like ten years.” Even with his competitive spirit, Mr. Decker was always one of the first players to enforce sportsmanship. Before each game he would walk up to the net and shake hands with the opponent directly across from him. Other times during the game, Mr. Decker makes funny, harmless jabs at the opposing side. Mr. Decker used fun and sportsmanship to keep good competition alive. 

Mr. Stuppy and students in SGA had a fun time setting up and executing the spring pep rally. Every year the SGA community creates new games on the fly, to shake things up beyond the standard games you would typically see at Atholton’s previous pep rallies. This year, Mr. Stuppy invented ‘Stupball’, a relay race, where the goal of the game is to see which group can throw the most dodgeballs, with lacrosse sticks, into trash cans from far away. He found that the game was easy to set up and plan but was kind of impossible to execute. In the end, after some improv, this new game was fun for the students, and everything worked out for the best. Mr. Stuppy hopes that Atholton will eventually have, “three pep rallies at designated times every school year, so that it isn’t a question of when we could fit any pep rally into the calendar.” The spring pep rally was a refreshing break from the tediousness of a normal school day and a satisfying way to wrap up the school year.

Posted by Kennedy Burnett

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