COVID-19 stole indoor pep rallies, now it’s time to take them back

Concerns about COVID keep administrators from giving the all clear for indoor pep rallies


Class of 2022 competes in spirit competition during the outdoor Homecoming pep rally. Photo taken by Faith Huber.

The Editorial Board

Over the past two years COVID-19 has destroyed traditions and put a halt to most of the fun events at MV. Since March 2020, everything from basketball games to school itself has been canceled or altered in some way. Some of the most cherished and memorable events at the high school are the school wide pep-rallies in Changnon. The pep rallies are cornerstone events because of the intense games among the classes and the all-out competition for the Spirit Banner. The pep-rallies add needed excitement to a rather bland and long school year. Over the past two years, MV has not experienced these breaks from normalcy as we would have in a “normal year.” 

However, this year students have been lucky enough to have had two outdoor pep-rallies in the Hunt football stadium bleachers. However, these pep-rallies didn’t live up to the standards set by previous events. The first of the two pep-rallies was dysfunctional due to the outdoor setting and didn’t even have all the classes in attendance; the latter of which caused it to lack the energy to which students had become accustomed. The second pep-rally did have all classes in attendance and had much better participation, but it still was nowhere near the environment that the traditional events had. 

Class of 2020 cheers during the 2019 Homecoming pep rally, one of the last indoor assemblies before COVID

These new outdoor pep-rallies lacked key elements of the environment that were created by the gym. For example, the rival classes aren’t facing each other, freshman facing the sophomores and juniors facing the seniors, as well as the fact that those participating in the games/ activities were not engulfed in cheers and boos which gave those participants the feel of being in an arena of battle. The cheers that were present didn’t echo off the gym walls and ceiling, as we were used to. Additionally, at times the PA system in Hunt Stadium wasn’t loud enough to be heard by students in the bleachers. In essence, the pep-rallies felt forced and they only happened to appease the student body to at least do something.

On December 4, WMIX Radio hosted a basketball shootout which consisted of schools from all over the state as well as from Missouri. With the shootout came a packed gymnasium full of people from their respective schools. Then on December 5, the following day, there was a cheer competition, also in Changnon, that also brought with it a full gym. That being said, why, exactly, can we not have a pep rally in that same gym that held people from the areas of Chicago and St. Louis? We interact with fellow students every day during the school day. At this point, a majority of the students would go to the pep rally if given the option to attend. It’s disappointing that such a beloved part of the school year has been taken away from us all, despite many students being in favor of an indoor pep rally. 

Since moving to the new campus in 2016, one of the most anticipated pep-rallies of the year is the holiday assembly. Consisting of a whiteout Christmas theme with a lip sync battle, many students look forward to it. A few weeks prior to Holiday Spirit Week, a group of seniors had even begun talking about their plans for lip sync battle, only to find out the week before Spirit Week that there would be no winter/holiday pep rally. This decision incensed many students, mainly upperclassmen who have participated in these assemblies in the past. To omit such an adored event from the school year is sacrilege.

We understand that the administrators are prioritizing daily in person learning over pep rallies. That being said, our solution is simple. Have a winter pep rally, although rather than having it during holiday spirit week, as has been the custom in recent years, have it in preparation for the Blackout basketball game, the home rivalry game against Centralia. As for health concerns, we opt to make the pep rally optional. Although this will decrease attendance, those attending will want to be there and participate, in other words, taking quality over quantity. These changes will aid in bringing back the energy and excitement to pep rallies that had been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also giving those students that wish to protect the health of themselves or family members the option to do that.