Club Connection: Pep Club

West High’s newest club is working to make the student section a bigger and more united facet of West sporting events.

Pep Club, the newest addition to the West High club scene, aims to go beyond the bleachers and bring students from all classes together in an attempt to make the student section more inclusive.

With their first meeting occurring the second week of school, Pep Club has been hard at work from the get-go. Whether it is choosing the theme for each game or teaching new cheers to underclassmen, Pep Club has quickly become an integral part of the atmosphere at West sporting events.

Kara Wagenknecht
A Pep Club signup sheet sits on Brianna Dusterhoft’s desk on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

“Last year during girls state basketball was when I wanted to get more kids involved and get more kids to go to the games,” said Pep Club co-sponsor and athletic secretary Brianna Dusterhoft. After seeing the immense support from Trojan fans at that championship game, Dusterhoft was inspired to bring that same energy to to every West sporting event.

Fellow sponsor and building secretary Shannon Nock shares a similar ideology, adding that a major motivation behind the formation of Pep Club was fostering a sense of community.

“[Pep club] gives students an opportunity to be able to go to a game or an activity and not have to set something up ahead of time with a friend. They know they have a group of people there who are going to be showing up that they know through the club.”

[Pep club] gives students an opportunity to be able to go to a game or an activity and not have to set something up ahead of time with a friend. ”

— Shannon Nock

At Pep Club meetings, club sponsors host an open discussion and generate ideas for upcoming sporting events. Items up for discussion include the integration of student section themes, how the section can become more inclusive and how to encourage more students to attend games. Lastly, an agenda is set for the upcoming meeting.

Just two meetings in, and the club already has big plans for what’s to come. In addition to possible pre-game tailgate parties, the club hopes to expand the horizons of the student section to include lesser attended sports.

Kara Wagenknecht
Green and gold pom-poms hang throughout Brianna Dusterhoft’s office on Wedensday, Sept. 12.

“We’ve talked a lot about attending things other than just your normal football and volleyball. We’ve talked about cross country, swimming, track … anything to mix it up a little,” Nock said. “Most kids think ‘Oh, football and basketball,’ but we want to get students to these other events.”

The club has generated a great deal of interest among underclassmen, but the sponsors are hopeful that the club will attract more upperclassmen in the future.

“We need [upperclassmen] who are part of the student section to give us ideas and suggestions and options of things that they want to do,” Dusterhoft said.

One of those students, Ellie Kouba ’19, saw a flaw in the student section and was motivated to make a change.

“One thing we’ve tried to improve is letting underclassmen know when to cheer,” she said. “I bought a whiteboard to write cheers on and hold it up.”

We need those kids who are part of the student section to give us ideas and suggestions and options of things that they want to do.”

— Brianna Dusterhoft

Above all, the club’s advisers hope to instill a sense of purpose in the student body.

“We want the student section to be a thing that people go to and think that they need to go to,” Dusterhoft said. “In a big school like this, some kids may be busy or have their own things going on. That’s fine, but we would like to get more of those kids involved.”

“We’re really focused on getting as many students as possible involved in school spirit and getting connected with the school,” Nock said. “If a kid feels like they’re connected to the school then they’re more apt to want to be here and go to those events.”

Pep club has meetings as announced in the cafeteria and is open to new members at any point in the year. For more information, contact Shannon Nock or Brianna Dusterhoft.

 

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