Hornets Soar with Spirit for Homecoming '18
Kayla Leonard '20 & Bushra Choudhury '19
2 November 2018
For years, the Passaic Valley community has partaken in the annual Homecoming tradition. However, for this year’s game, students and staff felt it was time to deliver something more unique and engaging. The arrangements for this year’s Homecoming Game, and the pep rally which preceded it, not only exceeded the community’s high expectations, but left its members with an incredible experience.
Loud cheering and energetic spirit filled the Griswold Gym on Friday, October 19, as the annual pre-Homecoming pep rally took place. While rousing school spirit, the activity-filled event served to acknowledge fall season athletes and generate excitement and enthusiasm for the Homecoming game to follow on Saturday.
Previous pep rallies have consisted of athlete introductions and performances by Varsity cheerleaders; however, this year’s rally brought about new activities, including a thrilling obstacle course.
The event started off with a parade of student athletes, followed by a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by the Hornet Harmonics.
Then, the games began. Each grade level had an opportunity to face off against the teachers in a timed race through an obstacle course. Four volunteers were chosen from each grade level to comprise the student teams, while each teacher team was made up of a different group of four. While the teachers beat the freshmen and sophomores, the juniors and seniors took the win for their grades.
The "Color Wars" component, created by the Teen Center, had each grade wear an assigned color to represent their class. The seniors were awarded $300 for their outstanding participation in this competition.
Leading the planning process of the event were Athletic Supervisor Joseph Benvenuti and Ms. Jamie Peters, along with a Homecoming Committee comprised of numerous staff members. Other notable contributors were Dr. Cardillo, the Teen Center, and the Student Senate.
Preparation began in the summer when Benvenuti and Peters began discussing ways to create a more student-involved pep rally and Homecoming. “When I was a student here at PV, we always had pep rallies where the students went up against the teachers," said Peters. "And I remember how much everyone LOVED that! So we knew that was something we wanted to bring back this year!”
Olivia Shpiruk ‘20, a participant in the relay activity, noted that the majority of students were excited and hyped up, eager for a chance to beat their teachers. “Compared to previous pep rallies, this one was more enjoyable because of [the activities],” she commented.
The pep rally concluded with the annual announcing of the Homecoming winners, voted on by their peers. The Student Senate honored the finalists with gift bags and gift cards.
The Homecoming Winners are as follows:
Mr. and Ms. Green and White: Scott Nitch ‘21 and Victoria Marques ‘21
Mr. and Ms. Hornet: Brandon Timothy ‘20 and Lexie De Luca ‘20
Mr. and Ms. Passaic Valley: Marc Garcia ‘19 and Trinity Toerock ‘19
“There was a buzz and level of excitement in this building that I hadn't felt in a few years,” Peters mentioned. This year’s pep rally definitely evoked much school spirit and involved many students and teachers within the activities.
Benvenuti has planned to hold a pep rally for the winter and spring seasons as well, which will recognize all student athletes. These future pep rallies will hopefully live up to what Benvenuti refers to as “the best Spirit Week, Homecoming and Pep Rally that I have ever been a part of at Passaic Valley.”
At this year’s homecoming game, which took place on Saturday, October 20th, there was much to enjoy on and off the field. The Hornets were able to gain a lead on Eastside 35 seconds into the game as quarterback Bryan Taylor ‘20 scrabbled into the endzone. As the football team continued to display its athleticism and sportsmanship, spectators cheered them on while taking advantage of what else the afternoon had to offer.
With community involvement as a major focus, students and staff members stepped up to the plate to help make the event the success that it was. Attendees had the chance to get their faces painted, courtesy of the National Art Honor Society, for free. This allowed community members to show their pride while allowing students to demonstrate their artistic ability.
Future Hornet cheerleaders were invited to cheer alongside Passaic Valley’s current cheerleaders, giving them a chance to first-handedly experience the excitement of being a member of the community. “Letting the Jr. Cheerleaders [onto the field] was a great idea because not only did it give the younger girls exposure, but it really gave us the chance to connect with members of our community that aren’t necessarily in the school," said Varsity Cheer Captain Bianca Dellanno’19. "Being next to them reminded me that there is so much opportunity for us to grow as a whole.”
The fun, however, did not stop there. This year, students had the chance to send teachers splashing into the cold waters of a dunk tank. For many, this was a fan favorite. “I’m glad they added this activity this year because it added to the variety,” said Chad Cole ’19. “I know many people got a kick out of being able to sink their teachers.”
Because of the overwhelmingly positive response Homecoming received, the staff hopes this will set a precedent for what’s ahead. “Believe it or not, thanks to the many people that made this great week a success we are planning to have a spirit week and Pep Rally for the winter and spring seasons as well,” commented Mr. Joseph Benvenuti. “We hope to grow the pep rally and spirit week with similar events, including the teachers versus the students. We felt like the what took place in October is only the tip of the iceberg for what the future events could bring.”