Rallying to improve rallies

November 23, 2021 — by Chris Chen
Photo by Greg Louie
Students (left to right: sophomores, seniors, juniors, freshmen) arranged on the bleachers during the rally on Sep. 17.

Hundreds of students decked out in their class colors walked to the football field to spend 40 minutes sitting on the bleachers for the first rally of the year during a tutorial on Sept. 17. To me, it was 40 minutes too long, mostly spent listening to my fellow juniors yell “Go home, freshmen!”

Although school spirit and class spirit are important parts of the high school experience, rallies tend to go a bit overboard. Since each of the games only involved a few students from each grade level, it often leads to complaints over representatives chosen, like the choice to include a more athletic group for the freshmen. Furthermore, observing the games during a rally can be difficult from the football bleachers (it’s presumably easier to see when rallies are in the gym, of course). 

In my view, rally activities should overall be more easily observable and include more student participation. A competition for the best grade-level chant, with each class having their own form of the “Hey Toga” yell, might work well, encouraging all students to be involved.

Since only some school classes are cross grade level, most students already lack significant connections between grade levels. Grade-level competitions should be structured in a way to not expand this rift. For instance, although the Homecoming quad days also fostered jabs between classes, mixed in with the ribbing was also praise for other grade levels. Furthermore, the quad day performances were exciting and hyped up because nearly everyone who wanted to participate could.

Thus, alternate activities with representatives could also be used, pairing non-fixed teams of different grade levels. If freshmen and sophomores pair up for some activities, and freshmen and juniors or freshmen and seniors for others, then there’s more of a chance for students to also form positive relations with other grade levels.

Sitting in the bleachers also squishes students too close together; it definitely didn’t seem COVID-19 safe even though it was outside. Spacing students out more would be smart.

Additionally, rallies take up yet more tutorial time, which is already only every other day this year and sometimes swallowed by advisories. With events like rallies and advisory, tutorials can sometimes go from three times a week to once a week. While advisory might take up precious time everyone uses for “academically relevant or social-emotionally appropriate” activities, they are at least consistently placed on Blue Day Wednesdays, and leave time for two other tutorials throughout the week. Rallies, however, hit everyone living under a rock (read: me) unexpectedly, meaning students with plans to talk to a teacher that day are out of luck. 

With that being said, rallies fortunately only happen a few times in the year. However, I’d prefer if rallies were further telegraphed in advance, like during announcements on a previous Red Day rather than being relegated to a weekly email or social media post not everyone will read.

And instead of during tutorials, rallies could instead be held during lunchtimes, the exact same format that the quad days used. If the concern is that students won’t have enough time to eat lunch, performers during the quad day didn’t either. It doesn’t make sense to be OK with that happening for an entire week and not be OK with that happening for one day. This would only cut down on the rally’s current run time by 10 minutes.

The usage of tutorials is definitely a hot topic right now, and I’m hoping tutorials are part of our daily schedule next semester. But as for rallies right now, I’d rather be doing other things.

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