Pep Rally Cheers: Are They Offensive?

Regina Allen

Pep rallies are a way to show school spirit, and cheers at the pep rally are just another way to easily get students involved.  Some believe that the cheers are offensive. One cheer, in particular, is viewed as offensive.

The cheer starts with the senior class chanting “babies” at the freshmen and sophomores. Then, in retaliation, the “babies” chant “NOVA!” (Referring to Northern Virginia Community College) at the seniors, who are awaiting college acceptance letters. Many believe it is is all in good fun. The chanting sparks some friendly competition between classes as they transition into the relay races and tug-of-war portion of the pep rally. However, others find it offensive and suggest it should be replaced.

Around T.C. Williams, NOVA

has a negative connotation, despite its excellent programs that come at a cheaper cost than traditional four-year colleges.

English 12 teacher Leslie Jones says that the cheers are all in good fun. Jones has worked at T.C. for the past twenty years, and the cheers have always been the same.

Other teachers believe that yelling NOVA at the seniors can be offensive, because many students will actually go there after they graduate.

Emily Yarrison is an International Academy (IA) English Teacher. Many of her students support themselves and she directs a lot of her students towards NOVA because she believes that it is a better option for students to continue their education in a way they can afford.

Yarrison said, “I don’t like that it’s used as an insult because it’s such a great option and going to a four-year college is such a privilege…  not everybody can. It’s very expensive, so I would like for that cheer to stop and I think that’s the first step to removing that stigma away from community college being for people who can’t do other things.”

Both sides can agree that this cheer is slightly insulting but pep rally cheers are done with good intentions. This particular cheer, even though it is meant to be fun and playful, adds to the stigma around community college that should be broken. After all, going to community college is still going to college, and that is a good thing.