Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Springing off without a pep rally

Seniors+cheer+during+the+Turkey+Day+pep+rally%2C+the+last+one+of+the+year.
Carter Schwent
Seniors cheer during the Turkey Day pep rally, the last one of the year.

With stomachs full of chili, students, parents and younger siblings watch as the senior class belts out the Alma Mater before scrambling to form a mosh pit with the hopes that no one will fall. The final pep rally of the year featured the football team before the Turkey Day game and briefly introduced the winter athletes. No other pep rally will be held this school year, hanging the spring sports athletes to dry. 

Dr. Seth Harrell, first-year KHS principal, said at his old school, Jackson High School, pep rallies were often centered around big basketball or football games. This was done in order to ‘hype up’ the students for a rivalry game.

“In my experience, [pep rallies are] very much like Turkey Day,” Harrell said. “It’s something built around that game.” 

Harrell said he wants to keep the two pep rallies a year special. They are not supposed to be events that happen constantly because in the end that will take away the importance of them.

“You don’t want to be having a pep rally just because,” Harrell said, “Normally those were put together because you are bringing together the student body and getting them hype because there is a big homecoming or Turkey Day game.”

Athletic Director Corey Nesslage has seen problems with pep rallies in the spring at all three high schools he has worked at: MICDS, St Charles High School and now KHS.  According to Nesslage, his schools have had success with fall pep rallies, but winter and spring ones fall short, with the exception of KHS’ Turkey Day pep rally.

“The hard part is trying to keep that excitement throughout the entire school year,” Nesslage said. “For whatever reason, the excitement around the pep rally in the fall starts out at a 10, and by the time you get to the winter it dips down to a seven. By spring, it’s probably below five. We have yet to solve that riddle to have that same level of excitement.”

The hard part is trying to keep that excitement throughout the entire school year.

— Corey Nesslage

According to Rebecca Friesan, director of KSD bands, there are also logistical problems with having a spring sports pep rally due to the timing of the band curriculum.  Friesan said the second semester of the band’s curriculum is essential to creating quality musicians.

“[During the spring] we’ve moved on to our concert season,” Friesan said. “We’re preparing different, small ensembles where there are 60 small groups that are preparing for a festival and we’re also working on large ensemble music for a festival. We wouldn’t have any rehearsal time for [a pep rally] in the spring.”

Along with the band being in concert season, the KHS pommies and cheerleaders also take the spring off from their seasons. But during Harrell’s time at Jackson High School, he witnessed pep rallies being run a different way involving student competitions and games during pep rallies, such as human Hungry Hungry Hippos.

“It’s always great because you want the band to be able to play, you want the cheerleaders and pommies to get that time to perform in front of their peers,” Harrell said. “But doing some of those other games would be a change of pace, where I would definitely not want to do that at any of the other pep rallies because it is not fitting for that point of time.”

According to KHS English teacher Amy Barker, pep rallies in the form of assemblies were once common throughout the school year. Barker said these pep rallies could serve as another opportunity to represent the spring sports athletes along with certain clubs. 

“We had a swing choir back then, a group that would sing and dance at the same time, which was very fun and you would get to watch these folks perform,” Barker said. “And then they would get recognition [along] with the sports folks who would also get some. It’s not necessarily academic, but a place where a lot of folks put a lot of time and effort, and it would be a place for them to shine.” 

It would be nearly impossible. [The band] doesn’t have the rehearsal time, we’re focused on the concert aspect and there wouldn’t be enough time. It would have to be after school, which wouldn’t go well because a lot of our students are in sports.

— Rebecca Friesan

However, at this moment for the spring sports athletes that are hoping to have a traditional pep rally to kick off their seasons, this will remain as a struggle for KHS to pull off. Friesan said it would be an impossible feat for them to pull off.

“It would be nearly impossible,” Friesan said. “[The band] doesn’t have the rehearsal time, we’re focused on the concert aspect and there wouldn’t be enough time. It would have to be after school, which wouldn’t go well because a lot of our students are in sports.”

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Nicholas Copeland, sports editor
He/Him Hobbies and Interests: baseball and golf Favorite movie: The Dark Knight Favorite Quote: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
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