Drop in COVID risk factor brings pep rallies back to Mac

Return of traditional event meaningful to Cheer, Blue Brigade

During+Pink+Week%2C+Mac+held+its+first+pep+rally+of+the+year+and+its+first+pep+rally+since+before+the+pandemic.+But+things+looked+a+little+different+this+time%2C+instead+of+being+in+the+gym%2C+the+pep+rally+was+held+outside.

Sophi Beardslee

During Pink Week, Mac held its first pep rally of the year and its first pep rally since before the pandemic. But things looked a little different this time, instead of being in the gym, the pep rally was held outside.

On Thursday, Nov. 4, McCallum held its first indoor pep rally since 2019.

“It was just as good this year as it was any year,” senior Blue Brigade captain Charlize Cevallos said. “The seniors definitely showed out. We had confetti and the poppers. I definitely think we won that stick.”

The seniors did win the spirit stick. But this wasn’t the first pep rally of the year, previously, they were held outside as a precautionary method against the spread of COVID-19.

“My favorite part about football season is pep rallies,” Cevallos said. “So not being able to do them last year was really sad. And being able to do them safely this year—it was super hot—but being able to do them nonetheless just meant so much.”

On Oct. 12, Austin decreased to a stage three COVID risk level, which allowed for in-person pep rallies to resume.

There hasn’t been a time where every single grade has been able to be together and show that school spirit. But everyone being there, yelling for the football game, it was a super good environment and super good energy.”

— senior Blue Brigade captain Chalize Cevallos

“Fitting a whole school into one gym, it’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s chaotic,” Blue Brigade director Nancy Searle said. “But it’s a fun chaotic. That kinda got the team hyped up, it got Blue Brigade hyped up. It got everyone hyped up.”

“You could see everyone in the crowd cheering,” sophomore varsity cheerleader Hannah VanHouten said. “I think it just encourages you to keep performing. And it’s a lot more fun having people there watching you live, just like a regular pep rally.”

This was the first regular pep rally freshman and sophomores, about half of the school

“I had never experienced it before,” VanHouten said. “I don’t know, it was just exciting to be doing fun high school activities.”

Especially for groups like Blue Brigade and Cheer who haven’t had as many performance opportunities of the year, this event offered a spirited return to tradition.

“Except for Taco Shack and the home games, it hasn’t felt crazy on school spirit,” Cevallos said. “Just because there hasn’t been a time where every single grade has been able to be together and show that school spirit. But everyone being there, yelling for the football game, it was a super good environment and super good energy.”

“It’s fun at football games, but pep rallies are a lot more intimate so [Blue Brigade dancers] get a lot more feedback from the crowd cheering them on,” Searle said. “So I feel like it’s a little bit of normal coming back.”