By Zoe Hazerjian
Before entering high school, I had the foolish conception that my experience at East would be similar to the movie High School Musical. This thought conjured up images of guys singing in the hallways while simultaneously dribbling basketballs, seemingly endless sessions of karaoke and a seating chart for the cafeteria. But alas. No one told me to “stick to the status quo.” In fact, nobody really seemed concerned about anything, unless of course it was their grades. This was a bit of a disappointment to me. There seemed to be something missing at Chapel Hill’s East Wildcats that High School Musical’s East High Wildcats had. Perhaps it was the lack of the tyrannical rule that Sharpay gave her subjects, or maybe it was the lack of spirit. Yes, we are all aware of the fact that East has no teamspirit. We can blame it on East’s lame school colors, or the confusing green tiles and lockers, or the extremely competitive scholarly atmosphere, but the fact still remains that the Student Government has to bribe students to come out to sports games, Springfest, dances and of course, pep-rallies.
Pep rallies are supposed to be fun! The term “pep-rally” should bring to mind ideas of students jumping up and down on bleachers, waving giant posters and dressed head to toe in school colors. So why do East students consistently try to avoid attending pep-rallies? What more could a students ask for than having old t-shirts stuffed into a cannon and then fired at them? What student wouldn’t be excited to attend a 30 minute show that involves cheerleaders that do everything but flips, an energetic wildcat pacing the sidelines, lots of opportunities for feeling claustrophobic and a quest to find a place to stow your backpack? What better thing to do on a Friday afternoon than trying to look like you are yelling “EAST” or “SIDE?” Who would miss the chance to sit with your grade and try to figure out if the person sitting next to you is actually in your grade since you swear you have never seen them before. I know the answer might surprise you, but very few people look forward to these pep-rallies. It is those rare few that have either worked on making the pep-rally possible, will be recognized at the pep-rally or have a dream that one day East will be excited for pep-rallies that get excited for this biannual event. But for those who prefer to skip the pep-rallies, and try to escape the event, find themselves in a conundrum. All the exits are locked, and teachers and faculty stand in doorways as bodyguards, preventing any sneaky students from making a getaway.
There appears to be a fundamental issue in East student’s way of thinking that discourages them from having fun with fellow students in school, but a solution to this problem is not going to be found by locking students in for pep-rallies. Not only does this prison-camp, pep-rally present a fire hazard, but it also discourages students from attending the games later on.
So how can we prevent this safety-hazard and make students excited for the pregame celebration? By simply changing the location of the pep-rally to the football field, students won’t feel like trapped cattle. The bleachers outside offer students the ability to move around, talk to friends in different grade levels and have fun. It is possible to change the bad association with pep-rallies by making them more like a field day. Students leave pep-rallies because they believe they have better things to do. So just ask the student body what will make them stay! I personally feel that offering food is a great way to lure students in, but by simply letting students move around, play frisbee, walk the track, have a water balloon fight or play volleyball, to name a few possibilities, it is, it’s better than being held against your will in a humid, stinky gym.
Come on East, we’re all in this together, lets break free of the idea of a pep-rally prison by making students and faculty want to attend this fabulous event. This could be the start of something new and wonderful at East. Students and faculty need to work this issue out, and learn from each other so we can make pep-rallies the thing we’ve all been looking for. Before you know it, students will be asking “What time is it? I can’t wait for the pep-rally!” Let’s go East! Get your head in the pep-rally game!