The Pep Rally Predicament: Pep Rally Culture on Long Island

The Pep Rally Predicament: Pep Rally Culture on Long Island

Niki Nassiri, News Editor, Staff Writer

Over the last few weeks, high schools on Long Island have been hosting pep rallies in celebration of school spirit and the coming of a new year in Varsity sports. Ward Melville itself held an in-school pep rally for the first time in many years. The festivity had traditional features, including contests with students and faculty competing against one another and a celebration of Fall Varsity level sports teams. For most students in Ward Melville, this was their first taste of a long standing part of American sports culture, while in other LI school’s, pep rallies have been a yearly tradition, or a privilege lost in time.

“It would go from seventh to ninth period and there would be a tug of war,” Brianne Ledda, a senior from Miller Place High School, remembers the pep rallies her school used to host. They were revoked due to a small group of students who were under the influence. “Everyone would be in their grade’s shirt, and there would be an unwritten competition between the grades to be the loudest when the Homecoming rulers and Varsity teams were announced.”

Hauppauge High School had turned their in-school pep rallies into Spirit Nights, similar to what Ward Melville has hosted in the past. Ilona Kaydanov, a junior attending the school, has never been able to attend a pep rally and wishes Hauppauge would bring them back before she graduates in 2018.

“I’ve heard some great things like how school would let out early and how each grade would decorate their hall; it would be a contest in itself [to see] which grade had the better hall.” Ilona lamented.

It may seem that many Long Island high schools have suspended in-school pep rallies, but Division Avenue High School in Levittown continues to host the festive event annually, and has a similar format to Ward Melville’s pep rally.

“Everyone goes out to the field eighth period, they announce the sports teams, and cheer does a routine,” says Alicia Renda, a junior currently attending Division Avenue. “They announce the Homecoming nominees and and we have two competitions that count towards our Spirit Night in the spring.”

While some Long Island high schools may be shutting down their pep rallies, Ward Melville is ready to begin new Homecoming traditions and bring positive change to the students. Homecoming Dance for 2017, maybe?