The crowd cheered as the Eastchester High School Band filled the gymnasium with upbeat sounds and the cheerleaders practiced their intricate moves. Just moments before the start of Friday's Pep Rally you could feel the energy in the air.
"It is my last year and I want to go out on a high note," said senior Varsity Cross Country runner Ethan Gatrell as he prepared to join his teammates on the gym floor.
Members of all the Varsity fall sports teams filled the stands for this time-honored tradition that takes place the night before the Homecoming Games. During this event, the athletes participated in a different kind competition – a dance contest that allowed them to show off their creativity.
Senior members from Jazz Co got the night started and Varsity Soccer and Volleyball teams used inflatable soccer balls and volleyballs to start their routines. The Girls Varsity Tennis team members were a crowd pleaser using some forehand magic to send candy flying through the audience.
Parents and students shouted and cheered as students competed against each other in games of rock, paper, scissor, tug-of-war and musical chairs.
"It is a real community event. The grades compete against each other, but everyone unites as a school at the end of the evening in anticipation of the competitions the following day," explained High School Principal Dr. Jeff Capuano.
For the senior players, the night is nostalgic but also full of promise.
"It is sad but exciting," said senior Anna Russo who is a member of the Varsity Swim team. She's been participating in the Fall Pep Rally for years. "I like that everyone comes together as a team. The school spirit is great, everyone helps each other out and supports each other."
Enxhi Hajdormatoj agreed. "Everyone looks forward to it. It is our time to shine."