Ramona High School might have just outdone itself this year kicking off the 2009-2010 school year.
On Monday, Aug. 31, they opened the campus to freshman only during what they called “Fresh Start,” a chance for freshmen to assemble, hear about high school life, meet their Associated Student Body (ASB) officers and sign a graduation banner in anticipation of their next four years.
With the entire staff on hand, schedules were distributed and students were given assistance in finding their classes, pressure free.
The following day, they were featured in the first RHSTV broadcast of the year, showing the highlights of their first day and being interviewed about their first impression of RHS, the common reply being, “It’s awesome! It’s fun!”
And, finally they were witness to the back-to-school assembly—RHS style. It wasn’t your average back-to-school assembly, however; it was the season opener to KUSI’s Alarm Clock Pep Rally Series, where they feature a different high school each week for 14 weeks.
Last year, the rally took place before the main football game of the year. The varsity team was undefeated at the time going up against a huge rival, Oceanside. The rally topped the charts and earned RHS a reputation for being the most spirited in the county, which is exactly why KUSI reporter Mike Castellucci and his team came to Ramona first this season.
“It’s the whole reason we chose Ramona to go first,” he yelled over the loud crowd in the background as they exited the assembly pumped up. “We looked at tapes from last year, and RHS just showed everyone how it was done.”
The pep rally started early, especially for high schoolers. Students were first seen on live television “sleeping” in the quad, piled on top of each other as Castellucci panned the crowd admiring their dedication of being out there at 5:50 a.m. to show their spirit.
Throughout the morning several more events were broadcast live to all of San Diego. The band went to town, the cheer and song team was spot on, the football team pumped everyone up, the crowd was a sea of blue and white. It was electrifying and no doubt impressive to the incoming freshmen.
“It was perfect,” said Castellucci. “The other schools were definitely watching and it creates some good competition.”
ASB Vice President Ciara Swier, a junior, had been a part of all the planning over the past two weeks along with her classmates and ASB Adviser Mona Snodgrass.
“It was a bit of a surprise that they wanted us to go first, but we were ready,” she said. “Since we did it last year, we were pretty prepared. We just brainstormed ideas and decided on a Rocky theme and everyone was involved and it just came together.”
Snodgrass was proud of her ASB team and what they accomplished for the second year in a row.
“We practiced, we prepped, and we did it,” she smiled after it was over and the team members were busy picking up the pompoms and gathering balloons. “Steve Koch (teacher) was amazing; he was fired up and kept the crowd going. He’s an alumni, so he’s so proud of RHS.
“The band wowed us, they kept playing and playing whenever we asked them to, and cheer and song have been busy prepping their routines all summer. It just went really, really well.”
Principal Newman couldn’t agree more. His mantra—“It’s a great day to be a Bulldog”—was ringing true as he gazed at the massive crowd and the breadth of organization.
“It’s a little scary for anyone to be on live television, but I had supreme confidence in our student leaders and our student body,” he said. “They stepped it up and it was really something to see and be a part of. Go, Bulldogs!”
Many people left campus last Friday exhausted but excited. It was a first week for the books and with football opening at home tomorrow against El Capitan and the second week almost over, RHS is ready to make it another great year to be a Bulldog.
Those who would like to watch the pep rally will find a link at www.kusi.com.