Editorial: Let’s talk about the nonexistent Plant pep rally


Photo Isabel Hanewicz

Cheerleaders Katherine Weck and Lauren Cohen participate in the spirit chant during the 2015 Plant pep rally.

RHStoday Staff

The following is an editorial that represents the views of the RHStoday.com staff. The views expressed in this editorial do not represent those of the adviser, teachers or administration of Robinson High School or the school district of Hillsborough County.

* For uses in this article, the editorial board decided to call the Plant pep rally canceled. While it is clear the pre-game party is a legitimate alternative to the pep rally, the board feels it itself is not a pep rally. The board recognizes yet disagrees with the administration’s view on defining the pep rally as canceled. 

** Updated Sep. 13 at 2:56 pm for the purpose of correcting the mention of Plant Week. Plant Week was not cancelled for the first time in school history last week. Plant Week was never scheduled and has not been for several years.

The theme for this school year is Uknighted, a hallmark of Principal Robert Bhoolai’s initiative to shape Robinson into what Robinson always should be: a family.

But with administration’s recent cancellation* of the Plant pep rally, it’s easy to feel like some of the family spirit has been lost.

Just as a family is strongest when all members agree to participate and are invested in each other, a school is the strongest when it can convince its students to buy-in to the entire learning experience. If students care about their school, they’re more likely to treat it and the people within it with care and compassion, and work to improve.

The board also recognizes that education is the primary goal of school, and that the two days cancelled due to Hurricane Hermine stalled learning for Robinson’s student body. However, that’s no reason to cancel the pep rally. To say standardized tests, grades and pass rates are the only aspect of high school is to forget the importance of family.

By canceling the pep rally, administration acted no different than the county cutting funding for music programs, or the teachers who tell students like us we’re too smart for journalism. To boil down high school to solely high-stakes academics doesn’t make sense.

Administration should want students to have a passion for their school, and should appreciate the fact that they have alumni who care enough to speak out about the lack of a Plant pep rally for the first time in school history. Our school likes to say Once a Knight, Always a Knight, and should hope Robinson students continue to have pride in their school long after they cross that stage at graduation.

While the night pre-party is a good idea and a possible new tradition, it is not a replacement for the pep rally. Excuses by the administration to convince students otherwise don’t hold up and only further alienate the school’s most important stakeholders: its students.

While we encourage all students to attend tonight’s pre-party from 5:30 to 6:30 in the field in front of the band room, we can’t help but notice that the solution excludes certain groups.

Students without rides, especially IB students like those in Westchase who live out of the school’s regular zone, don’t have a ride to the game, while all students can attend a pep rally. In addition, the solution also cuts out varsity volleyball players, who have a invitational after school, and arguably the most important people of any football game- the football players themselves, who have pregame warmups to attend.

The school’s goal, especially on a rivalry game-day supposed to be ripe with tradition, should be to create a family where all components buy in to one common goal. To be Uknighted.

But today, more than ever, it seems Unknighted would be a more fitting theme.