By Caroline C. ’21
UTL is perhaps the most anticipated events of the Winsor school year. Highlights of UTL include games against rival schools, the Winsor Wildcat running wild, and sometimes even a chocolate fountain. However, when I think of UTL, the main event that comes to mind is our all-school pep rally, an opportunity for students to fully express their love for our school, wear head-to-toe red apparel, and scream louder than any other time in the school year. This madness unites the Winsor community over the common love we share for our school.
However, in recent years, the cheer competition during the pep rally has caused more divide between some students than unity. For this reason, at the end of last school year, some Upper School Winsor deans approached SASS with the proposal to create new cheer guidelines in order to keep to the positive, fun vibe of the event.
SASS made sure to keep the competitive aspect of the cheer competition alive but agreed with the teachers that guidelines would emphasize the goals of the cheer competition, uniting the Winsor community and showing our love for our school. With this objective in mind, SASS decided to create four guidelines a five to seven minute limit on each upper school cheer, a mandatory chant/cheer component, no video components to any cheers, and the use of a rubric for judges to standardize their feedback. Furthermore, SASS decided to make clear the reason for the cheer competition: cheers are created to express school pride, not to create unfriendly competition with the goal of beating other grades.
The new cheer guidelines will hopefully encourage fun competition amongst grades. In years past, the cheer competition has caused conflicts among grades because a grade feels they had reason to win but lost unfairly. I completely understand the competitive fire we all have in us, but UTL is supposed to be a day of fun, school unity, and showing support of the Winsor community. It is important for these guidelines to be put into place so that everyone is on the same page; as a result, the hope is that tensions regarding the cheer between grades will be greatly reduced. Additionally, a judges’ rubric for the cheer competition will likely be greatly appreciated because it will eliminate personal biases the judges may have and show the classes what to look for in each cheer.
Teachers have discussed the possibility that the competition aspect of the pep rally be discontinued, but SASS felt it was very important to maintain this sense of friendly competition. To many, the competition aspect of the cheer is part of what makes it fun. Competing between grades to determine which grade will have ultimate bragging rights… It can’t get much better than that!