Pep Rallies: Do They Raise Spirits?

The school’s fight song. Announcing the Fall sports teams. Cheering. Donuts?  The first pep rally of 2018-19 was on Sept. 7, and yes donuts were involved. There was a donut relay race where two participants from each sport competed. The relay teams had to: eat a donut with no hands, spin around in a circle three times, eat another donut with no hands, do 10 push ups, and eat yet another donut with, you guessed it, no hands! Marching band was victorious. They were congratulated with cheers from the entire school, making it seem as if school spirit had been raised for everyone, but was it really?

Pep Rallies are a way to encourage spirit for your school and sports teams, but are people really having their spirits lifted, or are they just sitting in a room for twenty minutes doing nothing? As a senior, I have heard many opinions on the topic over the years here at Talawanda High School from both students and the teachers and I came up with one very important question: do pep rallies have the desired effect? I decided to go around and interview students in different grades to see what they thought about their school pep rallies, and here is what they had to say.

One concern raised was that of inclusion. Junior Hannah said, “Yes, I feel like they should include everyone and not just the most popular people.” Many students can get behind this because when they ask people from your grades to participate in the pep activities it is often only the most well-known people in the school.

Hannah also noted that there’s not much variety in pep rally activities, “It’s never different, we’re literally always doing the same thing at every single one.” A senior who wishes to remain anonymous said, “I think they are just very repetitive and there is never much change to them, and I think there should be variety in the way they are set up.” Emma, a senior agreed, “I think they’ve been fine, but it is the same people doing it over and over again, so it gets old.”

However, not all have bad thoughts. An anonymous Freshman said, “I thought it was interesting and a new idea I have never seen before. It was pretty creative.”

Another issue was for those who do not feel comfortable going to pep rallies. “Many times I know that people go to classrooms and a lot of the classrooms are closed off due to them not wanting kids in there due to pep rallies,” a senior said. One freshman said she hasn’t heard anything about a place to go and that, “I’m personally a very quiet person so I don’t like the loudness, but everyone around me seemed excited so…” She is not the only one who has issue with the noise. One senior said, “I have an anxiety problem and being in the same room as so many screaming people doesn’t help.”

When it came down to representation of sports teams, one girl who plays softball claimed there wasn’t a pep rally during their season. This brings up the question of whether or not all sports are treated equally.

Andy Zimmerman, Talawanda teacher and pep rally “mic guy” said that pep rallies make “everyone feel a part of something, but as a part of school spirit? I don’t know. I just try to be positive and the rest handles itself.”

Zimmerman said that he believes they do enough activities to fill the rest of the twenty minute time period besides announcing the sports team and how they are doing this year.

Then when it came down to how the cheerleaders and athletic department comes up with the activities, he gave us their secrets: “Mostly google. We have a magical pep rally gnome we use occasionally, but he didn’t answer his texts last Friday.” You heard it here — they use a magical pep rally gnome.

Zimmerman said about students and pep rallies: “Some enjoy them, some don’t care, some would rather just be in class. Overall I think they are tolerated. When we do contests and stuff I think the students really like them.”

Talawanda we want your opinion: Do pep rallies raise school spirit?

See photos from the pep rally at: