Dancing teachers, T-shirts plentiful at THS pep rally
Tonganoxie High students and faculty took part in a pep rally Thursday afternoon in the THS gymnasium. This year was a bit different, though.
Imagine a dance party of roughly 50 students in the middle of the gym. Faculty members even danced to the contemporary hip-hop music played on the loudspeaker.
"It went a lot better than last year because it got a lot of people involved," senior Lindsey Himpel said. "Last year, there wasn't a lot of crowd involvement. In previous years, they were actually kind of boring. You'd be falling asleep thinking, 'I can't wait to get out of here.'"
During the pep rally, the dance team, cheerleaders and members of the four fall sports teams -- football, volleyball, boys soccer and cross country -- were introduced.
Before the team introductions, Himpel and senior Rebecca Jacobs were presented Aim For Excellence Student of the Week awards for accomplishments in the classroom.
"I had no idea and it was totally unexpected," Himpel said. "Then I thought, 'I have to go out there.'"
The pep rally also marked the debut of white shirts that nearly 80 percent of the student body wore. All THS faculty and staff members wore them, too. The white shirts read, "We are Tongie" in red lettering.
THS principal Jamie Carlisle said 700 shirts were made for all students, faculty and staff members at THS.
The THS athletics department funded the production of the shirts from tournaments and events last year at THS. Of the 700 shirts, 250 were donated, while THS paid for 450. Of the 450, it cost THS roughly $2,500, according to athletics director Brandon Parker.
"Our vision is looking forward and coming up with things that make students want to come to school," Carlisle said. "If you can create that, you will reap the benefits academically, with their ACT scores, semester finals, college entrance exams. If we can aspire to do that, the sky's the limit for their futures."
In addition to the shirts, the school introduced Red Rage, a new pep club at THS, on Thursday. The club was started from the leadership class that began at THS this year.
The club offers student perks that cut costs for athletic events, lunches, homecoming, the winter dance and prom.