Student Council introduces changes to annual spirit rally


Kavya Desikan

Seniors cheer on their classmates as they compete

Mehul Shrivastava, Managing Editor

Westford Academy’s student council announced that the spirit rally, taking place on October 19 2018, will include stations in addition to the original event in order to promote inclusivity in the WA community. Spirit Week as a whole will not be rigged, a decision that was implemented last year.

Every year, the rally is organized by the executive board of the student council, rather than the student government. This year, seniors Olivia Lohmeier and Steven MacMaster, along with juniors Grace Dillon, Raghav Kare, and Drew Lefebvre, make up the executive board.

According to Lohmeier, faculty wanted a way to make spirit rally more inclusive, and has been brainstorming ways to do so for multiple years. The decision to change the spirit rally was an administrative one, and student council was informed of the changes and organized the event accordingly.

“We all thought it was a good idea, so there wasn’t any backlash from us,” Lohmeier said.

The field will continue to have the traditional spirit rally arena, but there will be other venues as well. The Performing Arts Center will have trivia, the gym will have activities such as basketball, corn hole, badminton, and ping pong, and refreshments, including water, cotton candy and popcorn, will be served in the courtyard, where the Improv Music class will also be performing, led by band director Michael Soo.

Both Lohmeier and Spanish teacher Jennifer Ganley, who is an adviser for Student Council, stressed that nothing will be taken away from the event itself. Seniors will still gather in the gym before running on to the field to a song of their choice.

“We’re not taking anything away, we’re just adding things to get a more inclusive environment,” Lohmeier said.

Senior class president Julianne Lee was not involved in organizing the new rally, but believes the new format is beneficial for students who do not enjoy being out at the arena, giving them a chance to enjoy the afternoon as well.

“The fact of the matter is, there are a number of students across all grades who aren’t comfortable with the big groups on the turf, with all the noise [and] commotion,” Lee said.

The additions to traditional spirit rally are meant to add options for those who don’t feel comfortable in athletic events that the original spirit rally has, so that everyone feels welcome to participate.

“We feel as though the traditional spirit rally is not a very inclusive event, and it really falls back on people’s athletic abilities,” Ganley said.

When planning the rally, Ganley expected a negative reaction from the senior class particularly. After the council announced the new rally set up, many students on the Class of 2019 Facebook group retaliated and Lohmeier was upset by the reactions, since the event is meant for all students, not just seniors.

However, Lohmeier also understands the retaliation from the senior class, seeing that the spirit rally had been the same for their first three years and changed their senior year.

“It’s just really frustrating to see, but also I feel like lot of the seniors just don’t see where we’re coming from, which is understandable,” Lohmeier said.

The senior class also objected to the fact that spirit week would not be rigged at all this year. Lohmeier clarified that the week was not rigged last year either, aside from a few slips during the rally itself. This year, according to an administrative decision, the week and the rally will not be rigged in favor of the seniors at all.

“Here at Westford Academy we are promoting inclusivity. We’re also hoping for a tighter-knit community, and a feeling that everybody is welcome,” Ganley said.