Looking Back at the Back-to-School Rally
A look into how the Back-to-School Rally came to be amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.
October 18, 2021
The invigorating applause of students heartily welcoming the new faculty and staff, the vibrant array of green, red, blue, and black, and the booming roar of high-spirited students as they cheer for their fellow classmates in friendly competition are some of the sights at a much awaited event: The Back-to-School Rally. After two years since the rally had last taken place, students were once again able to immerse themselves in Mitty spirit at Father Jack Russi Field. However, the appearance of this rally differed from a conventional one held by Student Activities—not in spirit, but in the circumstances it was held in.
Organizing an outdoor rally while trying to maintain the same level of spirit as a traditional rally was challenging for ASB. One aspect of the rally which had to be modified due to restrictions of COVID was the games portion in which a few representatives from each class participated while their fellow classmates cheered them on. Instead of returning to the games usually played during an indoor rally, ASB had to select games that minimized direct contact and did not involve the sharing of equipment. As such, the ASB team settled on games such as crab walking and a sack relay, which were well suited for the outside environment on the turf of the football field.
The main issue for ASB was ensuring that everything went according to plan under narrow circumstances. “We had to plan by the minute,” explains Mr. Greg Walker, Director of Student Activities. He describes all the factors that were taken into consideration: “Having the rally outside meant that we could not have it first thing in the morning because the neighbors were leaving for work, but having it later meant sitting in the hot sun while expecting students to keep their mask on and cheer.” ASB was also going back and forth about whether to have students sit in the bleachers or the field, but ultimately decided the field was the better option in hopes that it would promote social distancing.
After extensive planning and conducting a full dry run, ASB was able to work around these complications. It was difficult to communicate directly with the students in order to set guidelines as to what they were to expect at the rally, so reminders of masks, distancing, and appropriate conduct were essential in upholding these guidelines. In the upcoming rallies, Mr. Walker hopes he can better lay down some ground rules about behavioral expectations and continue to effectively communicate with the neighboring community about noise levels.
Despite the obstacles faced in the process of organizing the rally, the ASB team did not lose motivation and were determined to organize a memorable rally. Due to distance learning, this was the first Mitty Back-to-School rally for almost half of the student body. “I really wanted the rally to be an exciting experience for all of them and show them what the Mitty Spirit was all about!” said ASB Spirit Commissioner Sydney Regan. In describing her love for school, Sydney believes that being a part of ASB has given her the opportunity to spread that love through organizing fun large-scale events like the Back-to-School Rally.
One of the most rewarding parts of organizing the rally for ASB was seeing how well it was received by both the students who dressed up in their class colors and faculty who were not hesitant to join. Sydney states, “Seeing faculty that have never been here, do a little dance or spin, throw themselves into the community to make their first impression with everybody, was truly amazing.”