Pep rallies finally return

Published 8:03 am Friday, September 14, 2012

Pelham High School students got a chance to resume pep rallies in the school's gym this school year after the completion of the school's new wing. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

A fierce Pelham Panther anchored in a concrete floor inspires students entering the school’s new wing. Another inspirational perk that completion of the school’s latest addition returns is afternoon pep rallies.

Last Friday, Pelham High School juniors and seniors enjoyed their first afternoon pep rally since the 2010 football season. Freshmen and sophomore students had a Monday pep rally.

When construction closed the gym entrance in 2011, pep rallies were moved to Thursday evenings. With middle school football teams occupying the PHS stadium on Thursday nights, most pep rallies took place in parking lots. While parking lot pep rallies are never ideal, for those with family members involved in middle school football, they were not an option.

The divided pep rallies received mixed reviews. Seniors and juniors stood for their pep rally. “The band, lettermen and cheerleaders were great, but I couldn’t see much. I miss the tiered seating,” senior Meredith Burgess said.

Bleachers were used during the sophomore and freshman pep rally. Karen Varner, a PHS grad and PHS teacher for the past 11 years, emcees the pep rallies.

“The pep rally with the bleachers was better,” Varner said. “I was proud of the sophomore spirit. The freshmen were figuring things out.”

PHS pep rallies unite our community and celebrate, so many groups that the absence of these spirit fests impacts everyone.

Varsity cheer sponsor Lisa Winter, another PHS grad who is a Helena teacher, assists the cheerleaders in planning the pep rallies ensuring that many groups and teams have a chance to be recognized and perform.

Thanks to the energy generated by pep rallies, PHS has won games that only our community believed possible, in every sport, and our kids have won contests and scholarships that they may have never been confident enough to compete for without experiencing such an outpouring of community support. Our pep rallies tell PHS teams and individual students, “These classmates, parents, alumni, teachers, administrators and this entire community are 100% behind you.”

With this confidence, PHS grads step into the world equipped to succeed.