The Return of the Pep Rally: New Experiences for Everyone at Nonnewaug


Madison Dannenhoffer

Guidance counselor Kathy Green, front, and athletic trainer Sean McGee compete in the balloon race to open the pep rally.

Kaylee Jackson, Reporter

WOODBURY — 2020 was the last indoor pep rally held at Nonnewaug; the past two years, NHS held pep rallies outside with fun activities, including a chalk color throw, tug of war, cornhole competition, a potato sack race, and many other activities.

Since the last indoor pep rally was two years ago, the juniors, sophomores, and of course the freshmen have never experienced an indoor pep rally filled with the noise, energy, and excitement of what the event actually entrails. 

The previous indoor pep rally the school held in late winter of 2020, when a basketball game between students and teachers opened an exciting afternoon, followed by a relay race competition between all four grades.

The sentiment on campus this fall was clear: Nonnewaug missed that pep rally experience as all students heard how it used to be from staff and the seniors.

“We want to get everybody involved,” said Tricia Brown, the Student Events Planning Committee advisor. “That’s what our main goal was for these pep rallies.” 

Brown, along with Genna Riggi, planned the last two pep rallies that were held outside due to COVID.

Math teacher Marty Malaspina (36) celebrates with teachers Ben Guerette (27) and Conor Gereg following a point during the volleyball match against students. (Madison Dannenhoffer)

This year’s experience featured something entirely new: a volleyball scrimmage that pitted all four grade levels against Nonnewaug faculty that included Marty Malaspina, Dave Green, Conor Gereg, Ben Guerette, and Jamie Odell. Each class played a three-minute game against the teachers.

“It was never just about the strength or athleticism of students,” Brown said. “We just want all the groups to get involved.” 

The pep rally featured another hard-fought battle that spotlighted all four classes facing off in tug of war. The tug of war was competitive and juniors ended up winning in the final match by defeating the senior class. However, the seniors racked up the most points on the day to win the overall championship.

The gym was palpably energetic and the gymnasium was filled with chanting students when their grade was presented to play. 

“This year being the first year [since 2020] with the pep rally being inside, we saw a lot more student engagement with a lot more school spirit following along,” said senior Jacob Wells. “Almost every single kid in the school dressed up in their grade-coordinated and it was cool to see that.” 

Many people were still talking about the pep rally days after it happened because everyone just enjoyed having the opportunity to experience the pep rally as normal again. Brown’s and the staff’s effort of putting all of this together gave everyone an opportunity to experience the normal again.