Every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break, PHS concludes the Spirit Week festivities with a massive school-wide pep rally. Consisting of games, competition, and a good excuse to miss class, the pep rally is consistently a favorite at Peabody High.
Today’s pep rally went perfectly. There was no anger, no frustrations, and at the end of the day, there was some good, clean competition that went on. There were times when it was uncertain who would win, the freshmen especially carried weight in the free throw competition.
Ultimately, the seniors won Spirit Week with a score of 3150, juniors came in second with 2750, sophomores came in Third with 1700, and freshmen came fourth with 1400.
These scores are not rigged either. The seniors and juniors won a significant portion of their points from the spirit week, as they had outstanding participation throughout. Going into today’s events, they already had a lead which the seniors were able to take and come out with a win.
The day started out as regular with second period following first period, but afterward, the classes began to trickle on down into the field house. The band welcomed the waves of students in as each class found their respective sections of the gymnasium. Looking around, one could see seas of blues, gray, and white with many going above and beyond the class t-shirts.
ROTC marched out as a color guard, the school collectively said the Pledge of Allegiance, a massive flag waved in the far end of the field house, and Full House sang the national anthem. The pride was palpable, not only for the nation, but for the community, for the school, and for each other. In these moments, it becomes vivid what kind of a school we are.
Following up our moments of pride, the Varsity Football Cheerleaders set out to get the school more pumped up than they already were. This group already made reverberations when they made nationals, but when they chanted “Let’s hear all the Tanners yell: P H S!” their enduring ability to excite crowds was shown. They then performed a well-choreographed dance, flipping left and right across the basketball court, performing feats of gymnastic and dance prowess.
Mayor Bettencourt and Dr. Levine made an appearance following the cheerleaders. Mayor Bettencourt was given the microphone, and after he announced “Good morning everyone!” the crowd fell silent. It takes a great authority to silence a crowd so quickly, especially high schoolers, and Mayor Bettencourt has it. He expressed his congratulations toward Marcelo Rocha and Jessica Ostrowski’s great work during the past cross country season.
Once the two officials left, it was time for the obstacle course. Consisting of jump rope, hurdles, hoops, spinning, and sprints, it was no easy feat. In the first real competition of the day, the juniors had a strong lead from the start which then developed into a victory for the juniors right out of the gates. Following the juniors were the seniors, then the sophomores, and finally the freshmen.
The basketball court was then cleared for a similar event: the class officer relay race. Each team of four class officers was divided up into two separate units of two individuals working together against the clock. One unit would complete a cycle, and then the other would have to do the same once they returned to the start. The events of the first cycle were a tied leg race followed by a burlap sack race. The second cycle was leap frog and then a wheelbarrow race. This event, in particular, got the crowd riled, as it was a close race throughout the duration. However, the seniors did come out on top, and the freshmen came second, followed by the sophomores and then the juniors.
The greatest team size comes from the Hula Hoop race. Despite what the name implies, the race is actually to get a hula hoop all the way around a person who then will pass it off to another all while holding hands. There were a lot of people involved in this, with each contributing to the success of the team. The juniors came out on top, followed by the seniors, the freshmen, and then the sophomores.
The free throw competition was the most complex, with 5 separate competitions taking place. First, there were the freshmen boys vs sophomore boys in which the freshmen team lead an impeccable victory. Second was the freshmen girls vs the sophomore girls where the sophomores took a win. Following was the senior boys vs the junior boys, which was an exceptionally close race where the seniors barely got out on top. Then the senior girls vs the junior girls where the juniors won. And finally, the teacher competition was between Mrs. Randall and Mr. Broughton where Mr. Broughton won. It ended up with a victory for the freshmen, a tie for second for the juniors and seniors, and a final place for the sophomores.
The most coveted event of all, greater than any other, is the Tug of War. Every year the underclassmen compete to knock the seniors out of their perch on top. And this year, it almost seemed like the underclassmen would do the impossible. Unfortunately, “impossible” applied to this year too.
In the first battle, the sophomore vs junior, the juniors won handily. The second round, the seniors vs freshmen, after a long and winded battle, where during the first half it seemed the freshmen would win, the seniors possessed the endurance to fight the extra time needed to secure the victory. The third war came between the freshmen and sophomores, where the sophomores took a W home. And the last fight came to secure bragging rights, the seniors vs the juniors. This was the battle to settle all others. The seniors had a strong lead, and the juniors were looking to tarnish their victory. The seniors were able to hold in longer than anyone else, holding the most tenacity and endurance which ultimately won them the Tug of War.
In talking to Mr. Porciello, the organizer of the spirit week and the spirit rally, he had only positives to talk about.
“It went smooth, it went a lot smoother than I thought, and it worked out nicely,” he thought.
In conversation about the skill the freshmen class this year, Mr. Porciello said “The freshmen almost took the seniors down, that was a shock, and the freshmen won the free throw contest… freshmen had energy that was nice to see…they got loud sometimes, there were times when they were quiet, but when they were loud they were really loud and there’s not a lot of them so that’s really cool to see
Everyone got along well. The few little bragging to each other was all in good fun. Yeah, nothing was mean spirited, it was good.”
Even in comments about the band, Mr. Porciello argued, “there was never a lot of downtime, anytime we were setting up for things, the music was on, there was energy, the energy never stopped because of that, so that was huge.”
And to those who still believe the spirit rally and spirit week is rigged: it’s not. In a previous interview I had with Mr. Porciello, he assured me that the spirit rally is never rigged, it is just a matter of participation throughout the week which really boosts classes up the ranks.
Today he said the same thing, “what’s really huge about this is the spirit days, because they all count for points too, and the juniors and seniors just dominated those, so they went into a day like this with a lead they really won’t lose.”
This year’s spirit rally was immensely fun, safe, and good spirited; the pinnacle of my four years at this school. Regardless of who won, the week was fun. It energized the PVMHS community, making students proud of who we are, and that is more important than any score. Tanner Pride is real. I felt it today.