The cheerleading and dance teams engage students with chants. This was a tradition carried on from past pep rallies. (photo by Jada Llamido)
The cheerleading and dance teams engage students with chants. This was a tradition carried on from past pep rallies.

photo by Jada Llamido

Rivalry week sparks school spirit

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In spite of an atypical school year, student leadership and government continued to plan ways to maintain pep across the student body preceding the annual hometown rivalry game against Oviedo High School. Following the tradition of dedicating an entire week to the event, activities were organized from Monday, Oct. 26 to the day of the football game on Friday, Oct. 30.

A celebration of seniors

Rivalry week started with an early morning devoted to the senior class. On Monday, Oct. 26, seniors were invited out on the football field from 6:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. to watch the sunrise together.

Seniors Faith Hammock, Julia Johnson and Skyler Diserafino wait for the sunrise. They all met up together on the football field with other seniors. (photo by Maggie Taylor)

Although it was too early to see an actual sunrise, hundreds of seniors still gathered with their friends and some blankets to socialize and have fun. Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins, bananas, water and coffee were donated by parents.

“I’m glad I went,” senior Olivia Schultz said. “Being with my friends was fun and it was nice to do a senior activity.”

Many seniors wished they could have seen the full sunrise instead of being cut short by first period. Schultz also felt nervous about the enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines; masks and social distancing were required, but the amount of people crowding together without any precautions “concerned” her.

Regardless of its faults, the senior class gave a general consensus of appreciation for student government and administration’s attempts at raising school spirit. With options presently limited, even small gatherings on Monday mornings go a long way for boosting students’ enthusiasm.

“Due to not really having closure from last year, [my] senior spirit isn’t that apparent,” senior Sabrine DeSilva said. “Despite this, I think it’s imperative to make memories… while we still can.”

Haunted movie night

In lieu of a Halloween celebration, since the Oviedo game was the night before the holiday, a drive-in movie played in the student parking lot on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Those who attended had the option of paying $9 for a car, or $3 for individual chairs; each ticket came with a complimentary water bottle and bag of candy.

Prior to the movie, a poll was held on the class eCampus pages with a variety of spooky-themed films to choose from, including Ghostbusters, Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown. Ghostbusters won by a landslide with over 200 votes.

Students set up pillows and blankets in and on their cars to watch the drive-in movie. The vast majority voted for “Ghostbusters.” (photo by Matthew Dearolph)

“I voted for Ghostbusters,” senior Trey Caldwell said. “It’s an all-time classic, how could I not?”

To hold the event, leadership rented the screen and speakers from Premiere Outdoor Movies of Orlando. Those watching the movie from their cars could tune in to a radio station to hear the audio.

The event was a huge success, being sold out with a nearly full parking lot. Senior Josh Hobbs, who helped organize the evening, was satisfied with its outcome.

“First-time events are always the hardest to plan… Luckily, [we were] able to work very hard to make sure this event ran smoothly,” Hobbs said. “It stuck out as a way to achieve both safety and excitement at school.”

Countless students like Caldwell want similar activities in the future, even suggesting another drive-in movie be hosted during the holidays.

The big day

The cheerleading team performs for the Husky Huddle. They also helped plan the activity in advance. (photo by Shannon Hahn)

To top off the week, the typical pep rally in the gym was substituted with an outdoor Husky Huddle. It ran during an extended 30 minute break on Friday, Oct. 30. The cheer team worked with administration to prepare a schedule enough time for a condensed pep rally, which not only hyped up the varsity football team for the game, but also to honor girls’ volleyball, boys’ cross country, and boys’ bowling for moving into state championships.

Both the cheer and dance teams performed for students in the courtyard, but in keeping with the protocol for this year, safety was the number one priority.

“It wasn’t necessarily jam-packed like the way pep rallies are… With the year that we are having, we still try to make the most of it,” senior Courtney Downing said.

To maintain some familiarity, the cheerleaders involved onlookers with classic chants, principal Robert Frasca waved around the Spirit Stick and the administrators participated in an amusing competition: a tricycle race.

“When Frasca did the Spirit Stick… it wasn’t as hyped up as usual,” sophomore Corbin Whitlow said. “[But] I don’t think much needs to change regarding pep rallies or Husky Huddles, because I think they are always going to be fun.”

Varsity football faces off against Oviedo. They were tied most of the game, but lost 20-14. (photo by Faith Marino)

The night concluded with the home game against Oviedo, in which the varsity team lost 20-14. Team members like sophomore Anthony Benzija felt confident going into the game, following their three consecutive wins against Winter Springs, Colonial and University High Schools. Such a close game proved to be overwhelming once on the field, however.

“I played against Oviedo twice last year as a freshman, and [those games] felt normal,” Benzija said. “But the game on Friday was a whole different atmosphere. It felt unreal.”

Despite the loss, Benzija and the rest of the team are determined to finish off the rest of the season strong, and enjoyed the overflow of school spirit all week. The rest of the student body seems to agree that the week went well overall.

“I thought it was fun,” DeSilva said. “I think they did the most they could’ve, honestly.”

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