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Fortissimo School Pep Assemblies (and Dr. Seuss)

Fortissimo School Pep Assemblies (and Dr. Seuss)

Sound Comparison ChartPep is one of my favorite words, because I know how to spell it.  For this reason, I try to use it whenever possible.  Word that describes you? Pep.  Your best friend? Pep.  Favorite Color? Pep.  See? It’s easy.

Schools have also become attached to this word; instead of having a “time-for-the-school-to-gather-and-scream-their-lungs-out assembly”, we have a “pep assembly.”  In case you didn’t get the description from the first part, the school gathers and screams their lungs out, hoping that the noise is enough for a certain saucy marsupial to hear and believe that there are actually people on a clover.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry, that’s wrong.  I’m getting real life mixed up with my English novel again; I think it’s called “Horton Hears a Who,” or something like that.

Anyways, these pep assemblies are great fun.  At them, there are three groups of people.  The students, the band, and those worthy of receiving pep. I have had the bad fortune to be a part of all three of these groups, at one point or another, so I am definitely an expert on Pep Assemblies.

The band gets there first.  They don’t actually do anything yet, because they have to mentally prepare themselves to play the worst hits from ‘80s.  Then, as people walk in, the band plays, as loud as possible, in the hope that the arbitrary quota of loudness is reached before everyone shows up, so people could skip the assembly and go straight to lunch.  This never happens, though.

As the students arrive, they go to the bleachers on the inside of the gym.  A number of factors that are considered upon arrival are: where are my friends, where are the teachers, and, most importantly, which 20-pound lights hanging from the ceiling look like they are swaying the least.  Then the students sit down and warm up their vocal chords.

While all this is occurring, the people who have lost their pep, and need to borrow some from the student body (the people the assembly features) are in an adjoining room to the gym.  Here, the athletic director goes through the list of names of the people he is introducing.  This is an attempt to psych these people out and make them think that the director will not mispronounce their names.

However, being a seasoned pep-er (no pun intended-actually, yes, yes pun intended.  I’m so sick of everyone saying, “no pun intended” to draw people’s attention to a pun that was obviously intentional but one that the creator is worried won’t be found funny.  I stand by my puns), I can attest to the fact that the athletic director will almost certainly mispronounce your name (unless you are named Bob, which has the same spelling properties as “pep”).

Once the student body and band has settled in, the athletic director will use the mic and make a high-pitched squeal for attention (usually this is the mic malfunctioning, unless your athletic director just hit puberty and his voice is cracking).  After that, the director introduces the people the assembly is featuring.

After the featured people are lined up, having been left to stand awkwardly in front of the student body, the athletic director starts focusing on the true purpose of the assembly: to get loud.  In fact, he’s very open about it, saying something like, “Let’s get LOUD!”

The crowd responds, “aaaAAHAHAaahahah,” so the director goes, “That’s not loud enough! Get LOUDER!” The crowd goes “aaAAAAHAHAAAAHAHAAa,” and the director goes “Still not loud enough.  Let’s get LOUDER!” Then the crowd goes, “AHAAAAAHAAAHAAHAA!” (With a siren in the background as somebody’s esophagus comes loose and a friend calls 9-1-1).  Then, depending on the age of your athletic director, he’ll say, “Can you get ANY LOUDER!” and the crowd will go, “We are here! We are here! We ar-“, oh, sorry, switched into English-book mode again-the crowd will go, “WE CAN’T GET LOUDER THAN ALL CAPS WITHOUT MESSING UP THE FORMATTING!And the director will say, “Alright!  We’re loud!”

After the crowd is sufficiently loud, the athletic director will go on to narrate how amazing the students the assembly is featuring are: “The members of the boy’s sardine-canning team standing before you now have worked extremely hard to get to where they are, tonight, competing in the sardine canning state championship.  They’ve worked hours every week, braving dented cans, pollution-infested sardines, and broken nails.  Ladies and Gentlemen, your NIXON HIGH SCHOOL SARDINE-CANNING DISTRICT CHAMPIONS!”

Next, the athletic director will ‘invent’ a new cheer specifically for the event.  It usually pertains to the sport, so it might be something like, “Can the sardines! Can the sardines! We can can the sardines!”  As you can see, they are usually extremely creative.

The audience practices this cheer a few times, and then the athletic director signals the band.  The band plays the school’s fight song (as loud as possible) so the crowd will realize that the fight song was stolen from a college somewhere.  After the fight song comes the Alma mater.  Everyone mouths the words, listening to the person next to them, because no one actually knows the song.  It doesn’t matter, though, because the band drowns them out.

Lastly, the assembly ends, and the students run to lunch.  Usually, no one actually shows up at the competition that night, probably because they are too tired from the pep assembly.  Instead, the athletic director is forced to grab some people from a nearby apartment complex, explain what they need to do, teach them the cheer, and drive them to game.

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  1. Raz Darnell says:

    This is so accurate it's scary. I was in the band. I laughed out loud at the 80's song part because we joke about that, too. Also the fight song being stolen from a college, because ours is a rewrite of "On Wisconsin."

  2. Phil and Ted says:

    Thanks, Raz. Accuracy is my middle name (or part of it. My real middle name is "accuracy-humor-danger." It's a bit cliched, I know, because it seems like everyone's middle name is one those these days, but hey, three middle names is better than one, right?).

    - Phil

  3. Feel~The~Fire says:

    Sounds fun.. Here in South Africa (believe it or not) we have no such thing as "Pep Assemblies".. It's sad really. It sounds rather interesting.

  4. Phil and Ted says:

    Well, "interesting" is a good description, because they aren't exactly fun, unless you are being 'featured' (in which case they are downright awful), but they do get one out of class. I'm sorry that you don't have them; I don't think you're missing too much.

    - Phil

  5. Got here searching through the coffee shop…

    You write really well. Awesome stuff and other complimentary words!!

    That is all (:

  6. Phil and Ted says:

    Thanks, weissy. I appreciate the feedback.

    - Phil

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