After a year of being apart, Oyster River High School students of all grades gathered on the turf field to revise the school tradition of the Pep Rally.
Starting on September 20th and culminating with the Pep Rally on Friday, October 1st, many traditions were brought back to light that had not been seen in the previous school year. This includes the famous spirit week, the hypnotist show, Mr. Bobcat, and of course the pep rally. The pep rally is a time during the school day to play games, support school spirit and grade rivalry. While changes to the pep rally had been made this year, such as the rally occurring outside as well as some informal traditions not unkempt, the overall day showed how much school spirit Oyster River has.
The pap rally kept with tradition of years past and started with the senior run out. Led by Sam Haskell, the winner of this year’s Mr. Bobcat, the seniors took the turf. However, straying from tradition was the lack of students who turned around for the senior run out, something that has always been done years past.
Class of 2022 students weren’t pleased with the break of tradition when they did their run out. Typically, all the students turn around when the seniors do their run out as a sign of respect towards the oldest class. However, the majority of students did not turn around and this break from tradition upset the seniors. Carmela Williams (22’) said, “it’s a tradition from Oyster River and it was upsetting for my one time to run out, the tradition wasn’t upheld.” Trevor Borges extends the upset emotions felt by saying, “every other year the students turn around, it’s been a traditional sign of respect towards the seniors.” While the missing tradition was a hard part to get over, everyone still worked to make sure the day was fun filled.
During the pep rally, Jayson Blaisdell (22’) and Bryce Harmon (22’) worked together to hype up the school by announcing for the pep rally as well as the games done during the pep rally. These games included musical chairs, a soccer shootout, the limbo, a dizzy bat race, and a tug of war that even had the seniors up against the staff of Oyster River. These games encouraged a healthy rivalry between all grades, especially juniors and seniors, who stood on opposite sides of the field, making sure to both hype up their sides. The day continued out then with other games such as volleyball, soccer, flag football, and many more that both students and staff participated in while students conversed about the pep rally, all grades coming together to take pictures as well as reminise.
To win spirit week, points were tracked by grade in advisories based on the number of students who dressed up. At the end of everything, seniors took home the win with the most points. A great way to send them off. The seniors were all very excited about their win and had a lot to say about the day. Haskell talks about the pep rally saying, “I think it went really well. I love my class, I’m gonna miss us. I love that we came home with the win, I wasn’t shocked at all but I respect all the competition.”
Claire Atkinson (22’) also commented on the success she felt the pep rally was, saying, “I was a little concerned at first because we didn’t have our song because they changed it a few times, but I think it had a really great turn out.”
Planning the rally is hard. Many events had been changed multiple times, and with such little time to plan because the pep rally was hosted in the beginning of the year, the Senior Student Government and Student Athletic Leadership Team (SALT), had a lot to do with very little time to pull it all off, yet still enjoyed the process. KK Kalinowski (22’), the senior class president, had a lot to do with the planning. She said, “planning was a group effort and all the members of the school leadership and any student who came to talk to us had a voice…I think the seniors and students really enjoyed the experience.”
Another planner, Abby Deane (23’), who is an active member of SALT, also worked hard to make sure the school had a fun day ahead of them, and she believes it went well, saying, “I think it went really well although I think we missed out on some of the culture of the pep rally because a lot of the sophomores and freshman didn’t know what to do…but I think the rest of it went really well.”
For the sophomore class of 2024, this had been their first pep rally in their high school careers. With changes from years past as well, they had no idea what to expect. Tommy Fogg (24’) talks about how he thinks the pep rally will be in years to come for the sophomore class by saying, “I think it will be an easier process because we [the sophomore classes] know what to expect now and I think we will bring much more spirit.” For freshmen as well, this is all a new experience and with many new changes that they needed to experience to learn.
Elsa Pueschel (25’) also got to experience her first pep rally and learn the ropes of school tradition. She said, ‘I think the pep rally went amazing! The freshman class seemed excited and energetic. The pep rally was a great way to see how our class represented our school spirit. I think next year will be even better now that we have a sense about how passionate our school is about dressing up and participating throughout the week.”
Staff were also excited to have the pep rally back this year. Kara Sullivan, an English teacher at Oyster River who competed in the staff vs senior tug of war competition had a lot to say about the positives of the day. She goes into detail saying, “I think it went really well. I love it outside…I think it was a little slower paced, but I think that was just because it was the first year [in a long time].”
Overall, a day of traditions was just what was needed to bring back normalcy to Oyster River High School. Things may be different than past years, but after having to miss the pep rally last year, getting a typical start to the school year will hopefully make the rest of the year be just as normal to welcome back Oyster River students.