By Deborah Aderibigbe
Before reaching one month into the new year, New Hyde Park introduced events into the school year. Monday, January 23, was the school’s first ever winter pep rally. The event occurred during ninth period in the gymnasium for grades 9-12. Similar to the fall pep rally, the winter rally showcased athletes by having coaches read their teams' rosters while players walked out together.
“The inclusion of the winter pep rally did seem quite random at first, especially being on a random Monday during 9th period. I enjoyed seeing the performance groups but knowing they won’t perform at the spring pep rally is weird. The performing groups bring the energy and the peppiness needed,” junior Guneet Hanjra said.
Many anticipated the winter pep rally because they felt it introduced a place for the athletes during the winter season to feel recognized for their time dedicated to their sport.
“It was really cool how everyone supported the winter sports, and it was a nice atmosphere for us players to get to represent the team,” sophomore Alex Lugo said.
“The winter pep rally served as another opportunity for students to join together and celebrate the school community and what their athletes have accomplished...”
District sports were also recognized at the event. This includes NHP’s students on district wrestling, swimming, riflery, bowling and gymnastics.
"To be honest wrestling doesn't get a lot of recognition being it is a district sport but being called into the gym and having our names announced was pretty great," junior Matthew Muntzenberger said.
“I love how they did a winter pep rally this year because I feel like winter sports, let alone district winter sports like mine, don’t usually get as much recognition as fall or spring sports,” junior Mia Cho said. “I absolutely love my winter sport so it’s so nice to be recognized for it especially in such a fun environment!”
Each team had creative ways to raise school spirit as they walked out to be recognized, which led to cheers and applause from the student sections. For instance, the district swimming team had one player form a sideways hoop with their arms while another player jumped through it, mimicking a dive. The district gymnastics team showcased their tumbling skills. Boys varsity basketball and the girls junior varsity basketball team engaged in a staged game of basketball. The girls varsity basketball team stood in a straight line while one player rolled a basketball towards them, leading to players falling back like bowling pins.
In between the announcing of sports teams and the performances, Matthew Zatz dressed as the Gladiator mascot ran around the gym to throw free t-shirts to students.
Source by Areej Zaidi
Senior Matthew Zatz interacts with the crowd during NHP's first winter pep rally.
“Being the gladiator has been an absolute honor throughout my high school career. Being the person to hype up the crowd and get everybody excited for different events,” Zatz said. “This winter pep rally was a very fun experience with it being the first ever winter pep rally and having new activities such as the t-shirt throwing. Being the gladiator will be an experience that I will certainly never forget.”
This winter pep rally was the last opportunity for some of NHP’s performing groups to perform for a large crowd. These groups spent the month of January practicing their routines.
“It was great because I love performing and the thrill of everyone cheering for us made it less nerve racking. It was fun to have another big performance aside from the fall pep rally,” sophomore Zury Contreras.
“This year we did our first winter pep rally, I enjoyed doing it. I liked it a lot better than the spring pep rally because it gives us more time to prepare for the senior showcase and tryouts for next year,” junior Isabella Gomes said. “The only thing I didn't like was the late notice because it gave us officers not much time to create dances, otherwise I enjoyed it.”
Regarding the logistics of the event, some students and faculty members were wondering why the original date for the event had been moved back.
“There was already an event going on at the school that day. But, we felt the Monday before regents would’ve been better though because it was a little break before regents day,” athletic director Mr. Maguire said.
The winter pep rally served as another opportunity for students to join together and celebrate the school community and what their athletes have accomplished. Although it was met with mixed emotions, most of the crowd cheered as the Gladiator flung free t-shirts into the air, joined together to celebrate NHP athletes.