Woodland spirit finally propelled the Hawks to a win against Seymour Wednesday. Before the game, a war of the classes reverberated through the walls of the Woodland gym.
Black and gold warriors at Woodland Regional High School gathered Wednesday morning to psyche up for the game in the loudest way possible – with a screaming contest between the sophomore and senior finalists.
After battling for 10 days, the seniors emerged triumphant at the pep rally proceeding Wednesday night’s Thanksgiving football game.
On hearing the verdict, the senior class surged onto the gym floor to seize the prized golden spirit shovel, the symbolic tool used to break ground on the new school 10 years ago. Senior Ryan Marriotti hoisted the shovel in the air atop the shoulders of his classmates.
The 10 days of spirit – extended this year to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary – included a homecoming dance, pie eating contest, volleyball tournament, powder puff football game, MTV day, fairy tale day, and canned food drive.
Classes earned points for participation in the events, including a tug-of-war during the pep rally. Cheerleaders and dance team performed as the fall athletes paraded in to the gym.
Senior class president Rachael Conti screamed her heart out at the rally and planned to attend the evening game. She said the point of the pep rally was to get spirit going for fall sports.
Sydney Christensen, a sophomore cheerleader, said she enjoyed the competition between sophomores and seniors. The sophomores took 2nd place this year, a ranking which usually goes to the juniors.
She said the pep rally got everyone pumped up for the big game against arch-rival Seymour.
“It’s going to be a crazy game,” she said.
Even though Woodland hasn’t won the Thanksgiving game in years, Christensen was confident they would succeed.
“I think they’ve got it tonight,” she said.
A Thanksgiving win is key to the football team’s participation in the Naugatuck Valley League Championships.
“Our season is over if we don’t win today,” said senior Amanda Swingle.
Senior Sara Huges started planning the pep rally in September. She said she expected a lot of students to come to the game, especially since it is at home.
“Woodland has a lot of spirit,” she said.
Garnet and grey go all the way
The hounds showed their own spirit Wednesday with the whole school dressed in garnet and grey.
A week of spirit, including homecoming dance, a twin day, class color day, and hallway decoration contest culminated at the pep rally Wednesday night.
“The whole week just adds up to the night of the pep rally,” said Class of 2011 President Stephanie White, who organized the event.
The spirit week competition helps students show pride, support the football team, and emphasize togetherness, said Anoosha Sultana, student council president.
Administrators would judge which class showed the most spirit, said Sultana.
Many students took off from work and after school activities to practices skits, dances, and other performances for the pep rally, according to White.
“It’s a big deal to be a part of the pep rally,” she said.
White said Naugatuck High School has a bad reputation, but many students work really hard.
“There needs to be a positive name for the kids here,” she said.
Because of the tough economy, the senior class is doing extra fund raisers, including selling beads with “Naugatuck High School” inscribed on them. The money will help defray the cost of prom and other senior class activities, White said.
Prom is usually very expensive and some students can’t afford it, White said.
“We want to make it accessible to everyone,” said Sara Scrofani, senior class advisor.
After the pep rally, Naugy students continued to the bon fire, organized with help from the fire department.
The spirit activities are important because the get everyone excited for the Thanksgiving Day football game against Antsonia, which is usually the final game of the season.
Usually, the spirit week shows that “Even though they didn’t win, they’re still winners to us,” Sultana said. But this year, the Greyhounds weren’t just winners at their own school; They’re recognized throughout the Valley as Naugatuck Valley League Champions.