OPINION: Pep rallies should not be mandatory

OPINION%3A+Pep+rallies+should+not+be+mandatory

Shea Dobson

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Last year’s seniors participate in the festivities at their last Red/White pep rally. Photo by Jack Mattingly

As most probably know, homecoming for the Varsity Football team is this Friday, Sept. 24. Although the festivities pale in comparison to those of Red/White week, many students still find joy in the game, the dance, and the pep rally. However, not all students enjoy the pep rallies. In fact, it’s common knowledge that many students try to skip out on the deafening rallies. Every time a pep rally rolls around, students are caught trying to skip either by hiding in the school or leaving to nearby areas such as Cardinal Towne. If some students don’t enjoy pep rallies, events that take time away from class, then why should they be forced to go?

Before I continue, I would like to clarify that I personally love pep rallies. For me, there is no better place to be at the end of a long day at school. But keep in mind that I’m a very loud and extroverted person by nature, and the screaming doesn’t bother me. For people who are quiet, sensitive to loud noise, and just introverted in general, pep rallies can be a hassle. “I don’t think the homecoming pep rallies are fun at all. It’s extremely hot and crowded and I never scream at them because I can’t damage my voice. It’s also a pain to get out of the gym when it’s over,” said Olivia Renfro (12, YPAS.)

Students who don’t enjoy pep rallies are often alienated when they are forced to surround themselves with those who do. This generally lowers school spirit, accomplishing the polar opposite of the pep rallies’ intended goal. Many skip out on the rallies due to this low student morale. “Last year I had my theatre teacher write me a note that I gave to my fourth block teacher and then I sat in her room,” Renfro continued.

With all this information in mind, why are the administrators so obsessed with making sure everyone attends? School spirit is important, yes, but students who are not invested in pep rallies do not contribute anything to them. In fact, watching these students stand in the bleachers with confused or annoyed expressions on their faces drains away the spirit of the event in a way that no wing eating contest can restore. For example, at the pep rally for football homecoming two years ago, the first pep rally of my and more than 400 other students’ time at Manual, the sophomores (now seniors) protested the administration’s refusal to accept their theme idea by sitting down for the duration of the pep rally. To my memory, it was one of the most uncomfortable hours of my life.

I understand the argument as to why students shouldn’t be able to skip pep rallies. After all, where would the students go if they didn’t go? However, there’s a simple solution to this. Surely there are at least a handful of teachers who don’t enjoy pep rallies, and I see no reason why these teachers shouldn’t be allowed to supervise students who don’t wish to attend pep rallies in either of the cafeterias or in the auditorium. During this time, students would be able to work on homework, read quietly, or study. This seems like a great alternative to these students and teachers standing miserably in the large gym detracting from school spirit.

As a student who adores pep rallies, I truly believe they would be improved if they were made optional. With only students who want to be there, the energy would be much better, making it a much better time for both parties.