Pep Rallies: Too Hot to Handle?

When Homecoming comes around, so does its twin: the pep rally. Pep rallies are popular among the majority of students, mostly because they’re an excuse to get out of class, but there are many other reasons students enjoy them too. They get to watch the cheerleaders and the Dancing Boots, listen to the band and the crowd always goes wild for the Step Team.

Lots of preparation goes into making sure a pep rally is completed.

“The main people who do the preparing are Mrs. Reece and Mrs. Hailey, and Mrs. Montgomery and Mrs. Bryant… the Boots coaches and the Cheerleading coaches,” Principal Leslie Alexander said. “They put together the timing of when everything’s going to happen and the schedule of who’s going to perform when.”

The performing groups also work hard to make sure that they are ready for the pep rallies too.

“Several weeks of preparation and a lot of drama and hard work went into creating [our] dance and teaching it,” junior and Dancing Boots captain Kimberlee Thompson said. “The team worked really hard too and everyone was really excited. It’s our favorite dance to do of the year.”

This year, however, the performances were cut a little short due to several incidents of fainting, some of which were heat related.

“The first person who had an incident had an asthma attack. She had her inhaler with her so she took that. We called EMS as a precaution just to make sure she was okay, so they checked her out,” Alexander said. “The second student was a heat related incident in the [gym]. We took him to Coach Martin’s office, EMS was already there so they took a look for him, and at that point we ended the pep rally.”

After the pep rally ended there were a few more cases of heat related incidents or symptoms which administrators treated.

“We moved them to shaded areas, made sure that everyone that had heat related symptoms were checked out by EMS and we provided water for them,” Alexander said.

Alexander takes health issues very seriously to make sure everyone gets the care that they need.

“I always err on the side of caution and call EMS just because I would want someone to do that for my kid, and once they get on site we follow their directions,” Alexander said.

Because the pep rally ended early, the Dancing Boots did not get to perform their dance, which came as a disappointment to many of the dancers.

[It upset] a lot of the girls, especially our seniors, since it’s their last pep rally and they didn’t get to dance, and I choreographed it so it was really personal,” Thompson said.

Thompson believes this would not have happened if the pep rally were in the auditorium, but she doesn’t think the administrators could have seen this coming.

“I think it had a lot to do with the timing. We’ve never had Homecoming that early and it’s usually not that hot outside,” Thompson said. “I don’t think it was safe for us to dance which I had to be okay with because I wouldn’t want anybody to pass out, but at the same time I don’t think it was a good idea for them to have a pep rally so early in the first place, especially since we have an auditorium that sits two or three thousand people.”

Photo by Ethan Green