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New pep rally process is a step backward

By Matt Metzler, Entertainment Editor

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What’s the point of a pep rally if you’re only rallying the already-rallied?

As most people have heard by now, the administration is trying something a little different for the Oct. 30 pep rally for the big game against Centerville.  Instead of releasing the entire student body after their 7th period class to attend the rally at Trent Arena, those who wish to attend must buy one of 1,200 tickets for a buck.  If you don’t shell out the dollar, you stick around in your classroom instead.

I won’t try to pretend that we’re the most spirited school I’ve ever seen.  But at the same time, there are certainly quite a few students at Fairmont who take pride in being a Firebird.

I always thought the objective of a pep rally was to bring the entire school together, to stir up pride and excitement in those who might lack it.  But what is the objective now?  To forget about those who don’t have enough spirit to buy a ticket?  To abandon the effort to encourage their school spirit?

I get it – the amount of student participation during recent pep rallies has been less than stellar.  But I don’t think the solution to this problem lies in leaving half of the student body in the classroom.

Maybe the administration’s goal is to concentrate the spirit.  Maybe the administrators think that, by keeping out those who don’t scream and cheer, the ones who do scream and cheer will sound louder.  Or maybe it’s just to raise money.  I’m certainly not against raising money for Spirit Chain, but I just don’t think this is the right place to do it.

The pep rally should be the culmination of Spirit Week.  It should be an opportunity to celebrate all the support and awareness that was raised during Spirit Week.  And only allowing half of the school to attend this celebration, and making them pay to get in, just doesn’t make sense.

If the administration wants to increase our school spirit, I think it’s time to re-evaluate what exactly goes on at the pep rallies.  I know a lot of the cheers are traditions, but I’m not sure that they’re quite as effective as they used to be.  There needs to be more student involvement.  Some great steps were taken last year – remember the finals of the tire-rolling Advisory Wars, for example?  I was excited for that.  I enjoyed watching it.  It was something new and different.

But now it seems like the administration is taking a step backwards.  Maybe they’re just experimenting, just to see how it goes.  But I can’t imagine it going very well.  Here’s to hoping they change their mind about this ticket business before the next pep rally.


13 Responses to “New pep rally process is a step backward”

  1. Justin Patrick Miles on October 30th, 2009 10:28 am

    Fairmont has got to be the least spirited school in Southwest Ohio. When I was a freshman, we were all pushed up to the top of the bleachers because the stands were so packed. Did we care? No. We were happy to be a part of the tradition, to yell our heads off, and to feel like a Firebird. As a senior, there’s about 5 to 10 percent of Fairmont’s student body in the stands and to make matters worse… they don’t cheer. This blows my mind. People aren’t even excited to be at the football game; half the time they just stand there, not even talking to one another. What happened to the days when those who showed spirit weren’t thought of as “uncool” or “dumb”? I hope with all my heart, they aren’t dead and gone. But why on earth would Fairmont charge a dollar to attend a pep rally? Why not just tell students to not care? Why not just say “you’re only allowed to be spirited if you’re doing what we want,” and let the rest just stay away? Because it doesn’t matter to the faculty whether we care or not. Security guards, principals, and teachers weren’t the cause of the problems, but they’re sure showing that they aren’t the solution.

  2. Matt Metzler on October 30th, 2009 4:03 pm

    Words of wisdom from our very own Spirit King! Congrats. But seriously, no more short shorts, for everyone’s sake.

  3. Kathy Neiheisel on October 30th, 2009 7:44 pm

    I am confused, too. Why would not everyone be expected to attend the pep rally – FREE of CHARGE? The Trent was built large enough to accommodate the entire student body at FHS, so use it! In this economy, I am often appalled at how little thought goes into the economics of being a Firebird Fan. The frugal have purchased a $35 Home Game pass, but often pay the $4-6 at away games. Couple the ticket cost with transportation (gas is not free) and the cost of being a Firebird Fan can quickly escalate. Ask your administration to consider no charge for pep rallies and ask the cheerleading advisor to coordinate cheers that fire up the crowd!

  4. Mrs. Borchers on November 3rd, 2009 6:16 pm

    I actually thought the pep rally went really well. You mention last year’s tire rolling … what else would you add to the pep rally experience? It is easy to say passionately, “We want our pep rallies to be better!” but it becomes much more difficult to find ways to make that happen. While a dance contest is cool to some, others will hate it. Some students want to cheer and others find cheering painful. I would love to hear your ideas as we plan for the winter pep rally.

  5. Jamie Schnarr on November 10th, 2009 8:20 am

    I also felt like the fall pep rally went really well. Some kids you are just never going to reach. I don’t care if you yell, cheer, and have every fun game around, there are some kids that just don’t want to be there. And for our fall pep rally, a focus almost as important as the football game is SPIRIT CHAIN, and if I’m not mistaken all that money that people paid for tickets helped us win not only for Fairmont but also for all the families that were touched by the money that was donated. I feel like having a charge at the pep rally was not only OK, it was a good idea.

  6. Matt Metzler on November 10th, 2009 4:49 pm

    I realize that some students at Fairmont seem unreachable, and I realize that there are a handful who truly are unreachable. But only selling enough tickets to accommodate 1,200 students when there are well over 2,000 students is a little too extreme, as was moving the assembly from Trent Arena to the gym. I understand that you can’t please everybody, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, and I don’t think this new method won anyone over. I stand by my opinion that pep rallies should be used to convert the unspirited and unenthusiastic into true Firebird fans, but let’s face it – if you’re already unspirited and unenthusiastic, you’re not going to pay money to attend a spirit-related event. I’m certainly not against change, because in cases like these, change is the only way to get things done; however, this change, in my opinion, only catered to those who were already spirited, which was a step backward.

  7. Jamie Schnarr on November 17th, 2009 8:33 am

    Okay, I understand your statement about the whole unspirited thing you said that a hundred times in your article! But I also said in my comment that at this pep rally, in addition to being for the football game, the focus was SPIRIT CHAIN, and by charging a dollar for this one pep rally, we made an extra grand for the people we are trying to support. So for one second, take your focus off the money and the lack of spirit by some students and think about the families we affected with the money that we raised that day.

  8. Matt Metzler on November 17th, 2009 4:12 pm

    If the biggest focus of the entire pep rally was to raise money for Spirit Chain, then fine, it worked brilliantly. The causes that are supported by Spirit Chain are much more important than our level of school spirit, and I never meant to imply otherwise. I’m sure the families who were affected are all very thankful for the extra money raised, and I feel proud to have helped them out, even if it was only a dollar. Having said all that, my original criticism still stands – the student body was split in half by setting a limit on how many people could attend, and that was counterproductive. Raising the money was productive for Spirit Chain, but dividing the school by not including those who didn’t donate was not productive for school spirit. A better balance should be sought out for future pep rallies.

  9. Justin Patrick Miles on November 23rd, 2009 9:55 am

    If the focus truly was on raising money and our last option was raising an extra thousand dollars, then I would say that’s definitely what we should do. But that wasn’t our last option at all; there are so many other things to do to “make an extra grand for the people we are trying to support.” And I think that’s what we should do. We could have stood by the door at the football games with the principals and asked for money, we could have asked for donations at the pep rally, and we could have done any number of things. I know it’s done and there really isn’t much reason arguing about it, but still Matt’s point is extremely valid. And if you read your post again, you’ll read that you even said that Spirit Chain was in addition to the football game. ADDITION. This time, it wasn’t the main focus. And next time, we should keep it that way.

  10. Don Ross III on November 10th, 2009 9:00 am

    It’s all about winning. Winning attracts fans. Nobody wants to go see an average at best team play football. You will have those fans that will be loyal no matter what and that is pretty much the only fans that you see at Fairmont sporting events these days.

  11. Darren McGarvey on November 13th, 2009 8:12 am

    Matt — Great article! I couldn’t agree more with your stance about the backward step taken with the new pep rally policy. Let’s face it, there are rites of passage that we all must go through in high school –eating lunch in the cafeteria, riding on a school bus, sitting in study hall, and yes, pep rallies. As teachers and administrators, we need to encourage our students to be behind our school and its students at every opportunity we can find. It’s valuable for those “less-spirited” students to see the spirit that comes from involvement in athletic competition, in addition to see the synergy that evolves when you bring us all together for one cause. Granted, not every student is happy and not everyone is yelling at the top of their lungs, but you are getting a few more “Let’s Go Firebirds!” and that’s what counts!

  12. Melanie West on November 16th, 2009 6:19 pm

    I really dislike that every pep rally is prioritized athletics. Why not just being proud to be a Firebird and be proud to be where you are? If a pep rally is really there to build community among students like a lot of people claim it is, then Fairmont needs to readjust its focus.

  13. Melanie West on November 16th, 2009 8:52 pm

    I’d like to add in addition to my previous comment that Fairmont as a whole does do a large amount of good for the community as a whole, but there’s still a lot that could be improved upon, but we’ll get there. :)

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New pep rally process is a step backward