Student Life

Back to School Pep Rally

On September 7, Leonia High School officially started the 2023-2024 year with a distinctly different vibe. Students were enthusiastically greeted by the Leonia Lion mascot as they walked into school, and at the end of the day the Leonia community gathered in the gym and celebrated the beginning of the new school year with the first school Pep Rally. 

The administration consisting of Mr. Kalender, Mr. Servis, and new superintendent Dr. Gatens welcomed the student body back to school and brought a lot of enthusiasm to the proceedings.

How did you like the Pep Rally?

Since it was my first day of high school as a freshman, I was a little worried to be in a gym full of upperclassmen. Throughout the competitions, it was [funny] to see the freshmen lose event after event. The atmosphere lightened instantly after the assembly and all the worry I felt prior to that moment was gone. There was a definite lack of enthusiasm and cheering on the freshmen side, but it was fun and enjoyable regardless of that. Seeing ten of my peers go up confidently in a game of tug of war only to lose within seconds definitely left me laughing. – Emily Ignacio ’27

This was my first time at Leonia High School and the first ever pep rally I had attended in my life. I didn’t have many expectations for the freshman since we are the youngest in the school. However, I loved how we all remained supportive and motivated throughout the whole experience. It was very funny and entertaining to watch all of the grades try and get the hula hoop from one side to the other. On the other hand, I was very shocked when I saw the sophomores beat the seniors in tug of war. This whole pep rally was definitely a memorable time and it helped me feel more welcomed into the school. – Klaire Chien ’27

The pep rally that happened yesterday was technically not the first, but the second, but it might as well have been the first because the actual first happened ten years ago. Everyone was already half-confused, half-excited about the literal lion [mascot] that was walking around the school and flashing everyone thumbs-ups, but there was also a slight mixture of cringe from the lovely memes that the school administration had so lovingly put outside, but the addition of a pep rally was bound to get people fully into the whole “school spirit” thing that the school was trying to push. […] The first two games were pretty hard to watch, but they were pretty fun! Two of my friends participated in the hoola-hooping game, so that was pretty cool. The third one, however, that was what pep rallies are supposed to be about. The third game was a sweaty tug-of-war festivity, and although it made me excited, some of the outcomes were very predictable. Despite the intense muscle mass of some sophomores, the idea of them beating grown teachers was absurd. In the end, the excitement of the event was abruptly cut short by our principal, Mr. Kalendar, who decided to show sportsmanship in his dealing out of Minga points. […] – Mohit Gore ’26

The pep rally of the school year 2023-2024 was very interesting. First off, our principal started off with an inspirational speech. However, things took a turn when the competitions for the pep rally started. The first challenge had something to do with a race but on a spinny chair. Everyone got riled up and the principal was asking us to yell for each grade to see who yelled the loudest. Later on, there was a tug of war and everyone was trying really hard which shows how much people get involved with things at this school and how much school spirit everyone has. – Sofia Baroni ’26

As a new student starting my first new school year at LHS, the pep rally was very different compared to my first high school[…]. [T]he games were entertaining and pretty hilarious. The tug of war allowed each grade to present themselves and the competition managed to bring the students together as they cheered for each other in victory. It was pleasant to see that the school tried to make the first day of school comfortable, safe, and enjoyable for everyone. – Sofie Gaevaya ’25

On the first day back to school, LHS held a pep rally where students engaged in fun activities. This was a great and exciting way for us to start the new school year.  I along with my other classmates participated in the hoola hoop and scooter race. I couldn’t tell you how much we laughed. There was also tug of war which really boosted the competitive atmosphere. My friends and I had so much fun watching each grade compete with each other in each game. It was amazing to see everyone so excited to show pride in their grade and school. This pep rally truly brought a new light to “back to school”. – Samantha Giangarra ’25

The Thursday that school started had a pep rally for the school year 23-24 and it started off with speeches from our beloved principal and student council. Afterwards there were games played by the students, like scooters, hula hooping, and tug of war. The first game was scooters which was won by the seniors, but the senior’s didn’t win easily, almost tying with the juniors. The energy during this game was at an all time high with people cheering and screaming and laughing. The next game was hula hooping and the seniors won yet again but not after having to try again in a rematch because of a tie. The last and most thrilling game was a tug of war won by the sophomores, surprisingly. The tug of war was really an all out war between the different grades with sophomores coming out victorious. Though they eventually lost to the teachers after a long struggle, their enthusiasm and excitement was still present and alive. The pep rally ended in everyone going home energetic and excited for what’s to come in the upcoming school year. – Emma Vasquez ’25

The first pep rally of the 2023-24 school year was a great beginning to the new year. Both students and staff were very much involved in a series of games and events giving our school a sense of school spirit which was desperately needed. The atmosphere was very loud and energetic with all students cheering for their grades. The enthusiasm and energy made this pep rally a fun experience. – Emma Widensky ’25

The pep rally was the first I have seen and it even had the people from previous years talking about it online and going “Why didn’t they do something like this before we graduated? They had to have hated our class.” I personally didn’t care for it but I still did my part by yelling so the senior class can get its reward, and I thought looking at the reactions to it that our new superintendent succeeded in trying to do something to restore a sense of school spirit like he wants to do, granted I am sure many were more excited about the idea of earning rewards rather than actually liking [school]. – Kris Macer ’24

The first ever pep rally [I have ever gone to] did not disappoint. Coming into this school last year was not easy, having to follow different rules and different academic achievements was a struggle. Not only did that make me not want to come to school, but also the lack of school spirit and activities this school held was a major part of it. The first day of school was not only a success of classes but because of the spirit the pep rally held. During this pep rally, we were sectioned off by grade levels and had activities against other grades. Overall, I think it was a great experience for the school and hope there is more coming. – Melakai Aligo ’24