PRO: Students Can Opt Out of Pep Rallies


Classes are cut short. Sports players and cheerleaders wear their uniforms. Students flock down to the gym as music from the band carries through the hallways. But some students pass by the gym, taking advantage of the new option to go to the cafeteria to relax and play games.
School spirit is an important part of the high school experience. At Rockville, pep rallies are held to generate hype for football games or other big events. But for students who do not have school spirit and are put off by the heat, smell and noise, pep rallies are something to dread, not something to get excited about.
“I get bored at the pep rallies because it’s nothing I a�� enjoy,” junior Joanna Vigil-Coello said. “Pep rallies are mainly focusing on sports and not representing Rockville.”
The pep rallies pack every student in the school into the gym and separate them by grade level, each class getting a section of the bleachers. With so many people there, some students end up sitting on the floor. The gym becomes hot and smells of body odor, while the music by the band and the constant cheering, screaming and chanting by the crowd only adds to the chaos.
I have been a student on the floor. I would doodle in the sketchbook I smuggled into the gym or watch my friends play games on their phones. I would listen to music, or just plug my ears to try and keep out the noise.
I am not alone in my efforts to avoid the pep rally – others have tried, too. Vigil-Coello said that during the final pep rally last year, she went to hide in the bathroom. Other students have gone to sit in the office, tried to stay in classrooms or went to the gym and tried to block out the chaos.
“Why force 20, 30, 40 people to stand in the pep rally if they don’t want to be there?” science teacher Mark Agnew said.
In the cafeteria, on the other hand, students find many ways to occupy themselves for the duration of the pep rally period. They bring decks of cards and handheld videogame devices to play with friends, or just spend the time talking. Teachers who come to supervise occasionally bring board games, and may even sit down to play with the students.
Tables are pulled down for students to sit at, though some sit against the wall or against pillars. People are spread out and not crowded together, letting them do what they want without getting in anyone else’s space. They are as happy playing games and relaxing as the students in the gym are cheering.
When students choose to go to the cafeteria, those who do want to participate in the pep rally are left with more space to be excited and energized. The students who are not as inclined to be peppy can enjoy the free time in their own way. The school is not forcing people to do something they do not like to do. The option to go to the cafeteria can only help, not hinder.