The 2018 Nantucket High School Island Cup Pep Rally, hosted by Missy Perry and the Whaler Cheerleaders, took place on Thursday night, November 15th, before the great rivalry football game against Martha’s Vineyard the following Saturday on the 17th. The Vineyard Pep Rally is a traditional event that Nantucket High School has been taking part in since the beginning of the Island Cup, created by the legendary football coach and athletic director, Vito Capizzo. The cheerleaders host this pep rally with the main intention of honoring the senior football players and the senior cheerleaders. Additionally, it is tradition for the senior football boys and senior cheerleaders to exchange roles, having the boys dress up as cheerleaders and the girls as football players. However, it is also an occasion that expresses the school’s Whaler pride, encouraging students and members of the community to support our Nantucket football team for the much-awaited Island Cup game.

In preparation for the Vineyard Pep Rally, the Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheerleaders took time from their practices to teach the senior football boys some of the cheers and jumps they normally perform during their football games. Posters were also decorated with the senior football boys’ names and numbers to honor them at the pep rally. Senior cheerleaders Emmanuelle Holmes, Myasia Wiggins, Faith Hensley, Alexandria Richards, and Tahirah Newman were appreciated as they entered the gym at the start of the event. The senior football players, being cheerleaders for the night, had to cheer on these girls as the girls had for them at every game. The eleven senior football boys who participated in the pep rally were as follows: Victor Gamberoni, Camden Willett, Jack McGowan, Ethan Ferreira, Keagan Downey, Isaac Corbett, Prince McPherson, Cameron Bartlett, Luke Brucher, Spencer West, and Hunter MacEachern. The girls entered the gym pretending to be football players before the start of their game, and had the boys and the rest of the cheerleaders perform Jump & Jive, a cheer used to formally introduce the football players at the beginning of a game. From there, both the football and cheerleader coaches gave heartwarming speeches about their boys and girls and how hard they’ve worked throughout the season, highlighting their readiness for the Vineyard game. After the speech, the boys performed the Team Cheer, during which they had to say the names of the cheerleaders and perform the cheer itself. There was also an exciting jump-off that took place at the pep rally, where Ethan Ferreira and Kamoy Barnett won by popular vote. The Vineyard Pep Rally also included fun games, in which anyone who received a cheerleaders’ “lips” can participate. “Lips” is a tradition of the cheerleaders that determines who may play the games. The cheerleaders have to wear their printed image of a lip during the school day of the pep rally, and are not allowed to talk to their peers for the whole school day. If the cheerleader fails, she is to write the name of the person who made her talk on the back of her “lips”. The two games that were played in the pep rally included musical chairs and a hula-hoop race, different grades participated, and later the cheerleaders and football boys joined in.

The 2018 Vineyard Pep Rally was considered to be a fun time by both those who took part in the activities, and those who simply spectated. Among the four senior Varsity Cheerleading Captains, Faith Hensley expressed her thoughts of the pep rally: “I thought it was very different from other years. It might have something to do with the whole pep rally being on a Thursday instead of its usual day which is a Friday. I enjoyed it, I had to. It’s my senior year of cheer. But the whole preparation and days leading up to it didn’t go as planned. Once again, it was shockingly different.” Co-Captain Shannia Fowler also enjoyed the event and said, “I loved that the boys had fun with it and did what they could. It didn’t matter about perfection but just enjoying the moment. I was so shocked when the boys came to school the next day talking about it and how they loved it.”

The cheerleaders put in a lot of effort to prepare for the pep rally. They had a busy week, for which they had to teach the boys the cheers and jumps, make posters to decorate the gym, and also prepare for their halftime show for the big game. Emmanuelle Holmes, one of the Cheerleading Captains, enthusiastically said, “It was a really great experience! All the cheerleaders put so much time and effort for the pep rally to be fun for everyone. And I thought the football boys did a great job and it provided a good laugh.”

People enjoyed the pep rally very much, such as Prince McPherson, a new senior football player for the Whalers. “The Vineyard Pep Rally was exciting! I was really looking forward to it because I got to be a part of something really special and something that’s been going on for generations. It was my first year playing football for the Whalers, and it was a spectacular experience. The Vineyard pep rally in relation to my previous school was very different because a lot less people were involved. I went to a much larger school so obviously there was a lot more activities that took place. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it because I’m really passionate about sports and everything that comes with it and everyone here loves being a part of Whaler Pride. I liked the pep rally because it got the guys and the cheerleaders pumped for an intense rivalry vs. the Vineyard that has been active for a very long time!”

Overall, the 2018 Vineyard Pep Rally was a very fun and entertaining time for many who attended the event.


By Daniela Diaz

Contributing writer

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