Pep Rallies at CA hype students

Holden Chandler, staff writer

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A pep rally is a tradition at most high schools. The student body, faculty and fans, led by the cheerleaders, all gather typically the afternoon before a football team is playing that night. Is this just an excuse to get out of class early? To get as loud as you possibly can at school? To be able to play music and dance at school? To go wild one day a week at school? Well, those are all good reasons, but a pep rally is so much more. What’s better than school spirit, right? A pep rally is designed to get the student body and fans alike to encourage the team to win.The football team doesn’t just want encouragement, they need it! 

At Canton Academy we have different pep rally themes each week. After participating in pep rallies for 11 years, it seems they never duplicate themes. According to Canton Academy Cheerleader, Maggie Claire Thomas, “the captains come up with them (the themes).” Canton Academy has had many themes this year including black out, Mardis Gras and circus themes. Thomas says “themes are important to get the student body more involved in school spirit.”

According to Canton Academy cheerleader, Emma Grace Poquette, suggestions for future pep rally themes could be “pj day, haunted day and America day.”

Thomas added that a good theme would be “throwback.” 

According to Poquette, the lower classmen really seem to participate more than the upperclassmen much of the time. Poquette said  “the lower school does because they are younger. The little kids love to dress up so having themes is a good way of them getting to dress funny.”

When Thomas was asked what a good strategy would be to get more of the student body to participate she suggested “teachers give extra credit for every student that dresses up.”

Now that sounds like a pep rally promotion I could go for! Hello Coach Jurney, please read the previous suggestion again. And again. 

It is the role of the cheerleaders to plan the entire pep rally from beginning to end. From the cheers they perform, the skits that are done and the tradition of competition for the spirit stick. This tradition is fun for the entire student body. The cheerleaders will lead each grade K5-12th to chant and make noise to show the most school spirit. The students can get rather creative – air horns, yelling, stomping on bleachers and of course Mississippi State fans will always bring their cowbells. Just about anything and everything is allowed to win the coveted spirit stick for that week.

It is coveted not just for the stick, but whoever wins is allowed to dress down the following week. This is a huge win considering our school is a uniform only school. According to Thomas, “we prepare all week.”

Poquette added “if we have to learn a new dance it takes about 1-2 weeks.” That’s more preparation than I could handle! No one would want to see me dancing for sure, even if I prepared the entire previous year.

Every cheerleader has a role. According to Poquette it is her role to “decorate the gym with signs and decorations and to make sure nobody leaves the gym a mess.” After seeing the gym post pep rally this could be one of the worst roles ever.

It appears as if the seniors, captains and the cheer sponsor, Mrs. Mary Morgan, make most of the decisions surrounding themes and the rest of the cheer squad carries out the plan. Everything is centered around this weekly theme. The decorations, the outfits the cheer squad wears and if they are lucky the dance and music will coordinate with the theme.

Thomas says sometimes it is coincidence this happens as “ the captains choose our dance and sometimes it just happens. This week our dance was circus and so was our theme.” It is interesting that the football players don’t have a voice in picking the themes, but then again according to Thomas “they are focused on the game.” 

For now, we will just have to wait in anticipation for the upcoming themes for the remainder of the football season. I am sure they will all be entertaining, spirit inducing and a lot of fun for the student body. We appreciate our cheerleaders for truly leading the effort to promote school spirit.