Rushed preparations of freshman class lead to disadvantage at rally


Nathan Desai

Being a freshman is tough.

The class of 2016 just finished their second week of high school and they have already faced defeat at their first MVHS rally. Everyone at MVHS knows the feeling. Being a freshman at the Welcome Back Rally is the longest half-hour in high school. Many freshmen are confused about rallies, yet still expect them to be fun, exciting and a great way to kick-off a weekend. It turns out to be the complete opposite. Rallies are loud, frightening and intense.

The class of 2016 prepares their 15 second cheer at the Welcome Back Rally. Though many disregard the way ninth graders are treated, freshman inferiority is something that can no longer be tolerated at MVHS. Photo by Margaret Lin.

Competitiveness, however, has somewhat gone down due to the predictability of the results. The unfairness isn’t that the seniors usually win, since they put a lot of time and effort into not losing to the underclassmen, but the fact that the freshmen often end up in last place. The last time the freshmen didn’t lose was in 2008, when the class of 2012 controversially finished in third.

The way the ninth graders are treated at the Welcome Back Rally is cruel. Not only is it their first rally, therefore making it difficult to win, but plenty of barriers are placed in their way to prevent a victory. They have no leadership because their class officers are announced the day before. They have no cheers because their officers haven’t had enough time to write any. They have no props to wave around because they are unaware this is the norm at rallies and don’t have time to buy enough supplies. And when they step into the gym they are, for the most part, unequipped to deal with the ferocity of MVHS’s spirit.

But that isn’t what is supposed to happen at rallies, or MVHS as a whole. And the school agrees.

On the day of and before the Welcome Back rally, administration delivered a presentation to all the history classes about zero tolerance and bullying. They preached the idea of how every student must feel safe and comfortable at school. Given the emphasis placed on rallies, getting destroyed at one is extremely embarrassing and uncomfortable. And since it’s their first rally, they could be led to believe that making freshmen feel inferior is something that is tolerated at MVHS.

If the freshmen feel too intimidated at a rally, they may elect not to attend the next one. If their first rally experience is saddening, it will more likely drive them away from the experience than motivate them to try harder the following time.

Outside MVHS tries to make sure the freshmen are happy. Link Crew spends a great amount of  time making sure freshmen feel welcome at MVHS. However, when the ninth graders see their own Link Leaders crush them in a rally, the hypocrisy of it all becomes painfully apparent. Although the upperclassmen may not realize it, the freshmen look up to their Link leaders. And when they see that their role models are actually vicious animals, their spirits are crushed.

The only way we can ensure the freshmen are treated fairly is to give them time. They should elect class officers on the very first week of school. The following week would be used by the officers to prepare their class for the rally. They can buy supplies. They can tell the freshmen to wear purple and gold. They can write cheers. They can enjoy rallies the way the other three classes do.

We can’t allow the freshmen’s first impression of our school to be negative. Sophomores, juniors and seniors should still try their hardest at rallies, but we shouldn’t forget about the new guys. They’re the ones that need help. Watching them suffer through the Welcome Back Rally isn’t fun. No matter what the outcome, when an entire class is made to feel uncomfortable, no one wins.