Starting New: Pep Assemblies 2017


Emily Cooper

The main gym sounds like an NFL playoff game, as each student tries to yell over the person sitting next to them. But the chatter dies down as East’s dynamic duo, sophomore Jack Melvin and teacher Jodie Schnakenberg, take the floor. The students burst into cheering and clapping to try and match the enthusiasm on Jack’s face. 

But this time, the two weren’t there just to make the students laugh; there was a serious issue they had to address. 

Throughout the years, East’s rivalry with Shawnee Mission South has transformed from healthy to destructive. Property was damaged and multiple accounts of vandalism were exchanged between the two schools just last year. Administration decided it was time for a change.

Since October, the two schools have held meetings to brainstorm ways to improve the rivalry. East and South administration as well as Pep Club executives determined that the best approach was to use the rivalry to help the community. 

“The rivalry had gotten out of hand and was shining a bad light on both schools,” assistant principal Haney said. “We wanted to make the rivalry a more positive one and work as a collective unit to make a difference in the Johnson County Area.”

The schools selected the nonprofit organization Giving the Basics to help them rebuild their relationship. “Giving the Basics” provides families in need with everyday items that they might not be able to afford, including laundry detergent, toiletries and hygiene products. 

Over the course of one month, each school was challenged to bring in more products for the organization than the other school. The school with the most products collectively wins the ‘competition’. 

“I think that the competition aspect of this event will really get students hyped up and more involved,” senior pep club exec Bennett Hense said. “Especially since it’s against South, I think it will be really successful.”

The pep execs asked best friends, Melvin and Schnakenberg, to introduce the fundraiser to the students during the January pep assembly. The pair did what they loved the most and performed knock knock jokes together, one of Melvin’s favorite things to do. Melvin’s contagious laughter paired with cheesy jokes about laundry detergent broke the ice before the senior pep execs explained the specifics of the competition.

“We are very fortunate, and I think this charity a wonderful thing to do for some good, healthy competition,” Schnakenberg said at the assembly. “But with that being said, let’s crush South because we are the Lancers and this is how we do.”

The Lancers beat the Raiders in the competition, but both schools combined collected over 23,000 items for Giving the Basics. This event will become an annual tradition as the schools mend their rivalry, one bottle of shampoo at a time.