This past Friday, I had the pleasure of attending Yargo Elementary School's CRCT Pep Rally. My original plan was to visit beforehand to help hang signs and get ready; however, when I walked into the school, I was amazed.
I was the first class to graduate Yargo from kindergarten to fifth grade and our motivation was mostly a white poster board slapped on the wall proclaiming cheesy phrases like, "Do your best on the test!" Good in theory... well not even. That being said, you'd understand my shock when I walked into the school and each hallway had its own vibrant theme, with posters, murals, and even props dangling from the walls.
From what I could tell, Ms. Wages was heading the rally, so with posters in hand, I headed up the stairs. I hit the staircase and was in awe. Walking to the fifth grade hall, there was a wall sized rock star poster and lining the stairs were 'admit one' slips, each printed with an individual student's goal.
As I rounded the corner, my jaw dropped. The fifth-grade hall was completely decked out. Records hung from the ceiling, famous rock star posters adorned the walls, and everywhere you looked, you had to dodge a student who was dressed in leg warmers or leather jacket, complete with teased hair.
The hall was absolutely chaotic, but the energy was fantastic. My mind was boggled that they were this ready to take a test. I walked into Ms. Wages' room and was immediately amused. I saw her ensemble of leopard heels, tights, and hair jacked up to Jesus. Not only that, but she was on top of desks teaching students a very catchy song about multiplying fractions and dancing along with them. Students didn't even seem to know they were learning; they were just having a good time at school, and it seemed clear to me that Ms. Wages took advantage of every learning opportunity and appealed to students.
When she saw Ashley and me with our hands full of spirit sticks and CRCT posters, she immediately told us we were awesome and preceded to hand us a roll of tape with instructions to hang the signs in the gym and hallway leading to the gym. Since our time was limited, we quickly taped up the signs and ran back to the classroom so Ashley could change into clothes for the pep rally. As she was changing in the bathroom, students walked in with everything from mullets and mohawks to blue eyeshadow and glittered hair.
After seeing the fifth-grade, there was no way I couldn't stay to watch the pep rally unfold. As grade levels marched chanting into the gym, I couldn't help but think about how good this was for students. It seemed to take the edge off and provide a boost of confidence in its place. Some of Apalachee High School’s athletes were there, cheering on the students as they competed for the ever-so-coveted spirit stick. Every grade level had a spectacular cheer, but fifth grade triumphed with a live band - and no, that's not the administrators who came out dressed like gangsters and ready to party.
For a grand finale, one teacher was selected from every grade level to compete in a cake eating contest because 'the CRCT is a piece of cake'; however, teachers began to stuff each other’s face with cake instead of eating it themselves. In the end, Mr. Rogan from fourth grade won the entire competition by downing his piece in one bite.
This pep rally was absolutely one of the best things you could do for the students. It noticeably reduced stress but didn't blow off the CRCT. I had a good time just watching, but it was nothing compared to my third grade brother's excitement when he came home euphoric about the whole day. The afternoon went smoothly and was obviously beneficial because that Sunday night, you can rest assured that he headed up to bed early - voluntarily.
Morgan Scarboro is a student at Aplachee High School and a contributing columnist for the Barrow Journal.