Opinion: Pep Rallies should be at the end of the day

As a senior, I have experienced the old, damp bathrooms, block lunches and the ripples of the pandemic. I have watched this school grow and prevail through times of turmoil. Clearly, there have been many positive changes since I was a freshman back in 2018, such as a completely new renovated building and a new schedule. However, the timing of pep rallies should not have changed. 

As a freshman, my favorite memories of high school were from football season. I looked forward to the pep rallies after a long day of lectures and the football games that followed that night. My sophomore year, however, was a bit different. Because I took classes at Career Center East in the afternoon, I could no longer attend pep rallies with my friends. My junior year, pep rallies were virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, and as a result, my school spirit diminished. That’s why when I returned to school this year, I was overjoyed over the new arena and the administration’s commitment to proceed with its normal activities like in-person pep rallies. However, they decided to change one crucial aspect: the time. 

Pep rallies become a hassle for many students and teachers when held during the middle of the day. Teachers who have second and third period classes have to adjust their schedules accordingly because many students involved in band, choir, and athletics return much later than the bell. This can interrupt lectures and test times. 

In addition, most students are not going to celebrate sports teams at 11:00 a.m. Pep rallies in the middle of the day causes an awkward break in between classes. Students leave class and go right back 30 minutes later. An interruption in the school day is stressful for students because they are not fully free from academic clutches. Moreover, pep rallies after fourth period will increase school spirit for the football game that kicks off less than four hours after the end of the school day. 

Most importantly, the new schedule ignores the freshman class. The two campuses have always served as a division, but it had just been isolated to mere buildings. Now, the new policies have excluded the freshmen from the pep rallies with the exception of students involved in band, football, cheer, and other related extracurriculars. In addition, the pep rally schedule offers a further obstacle for freshmen involved in extracurriculars because they have a longer walk to and from the main campus. All things considered, the freshmen will not be able to experience an actual pep rally with everyone else until a year later. 

Some might argue that the new schedule allows seniors with fourth period off to attend pep rallies and increases attendance for all three grade levels. According to office aides, though, many students skipped school after the first pep rally, especially ones that had A lunch right after. To mitigate the problem, staff members have directed their attention towards blocking pathways to the parking lot. However, I would argue that only students truly invested in school spirit should attend pep rallies at the end of the day. Forcing students to participate during the school day will only decrease morale and the overall spirit of the rally. Full attendance will not excuse the stoic and gloomy faces that have become increasingly abundant. Moreover, this sacrifice would increase capacity for the freshman class. 

I strongly believe that pep rallies should be at the end of the day. It is an important element of the high school experience and gives students something to look forward to at the end of the day and grants teachers more flexibility. Though football season is coming to an end, I hope the school will change its policy for the coming years.