Inaugural all-school pep rally set for Oct. 2
Posted 09/17/2015 04:39PM

It's been seven long years since the entire Durham Academy student body — from the widest-eyed pre-kindergartners to those seasoned seniors twice their height — has gathered in one place. But the drought will come to an end on Friday, Oct. 2. That's when all 1,185 DA students will gather in Kirby Gym for the school's inaugural all-school pep rally, gearing up for the evening's homecoming athletic events and celebrating their common identity as Cavs.

"Hopefully this will be a tradition that the kids will remember and treasure years after they've graduated from Durham Academy," said DA Alumni Director and head varsity men's basketball coach Tim McKenna, who is spearheading the event. Going forward, the goal is to hold an all-school pep rally each fall to lead into the annual Fall Alumni Weekend and homecoming festivities and games.

McKenna and the Upper School Student Council members who are aiding him in planning the event, envision Kirby Gym as an ebullient blur of green and white on Oct. 2 — green-and-white-clad students, faculty and staff from all corners of DA's campuses waving pom-poms and rally towels and cheering wildly in a show of school spirit. At the core of the 40-minute afternoon pep rally will be introductions of fall Middle School, JV and varsity athletic teams and a talent show competition between each of the fall varsity teams — judged by audience applause and cheering, of course.

Kirby Gym's space constraints will limit attendance to students, faculty and staff, but parents, alumni and other Cavalier fans are encouraged to watch the celebration live via the school's High School Cube live-stream feed from 1:20 to 2 p.m. Handling the live-streaming duties will be members of the Middle School DASN (DA Sports Network) Club.

"This will be a schoolwide production," McKenna said. "We'll have Middle School students helping with distribution of rally towels, in addition to manning the live-stream, and LS students will help with passing out pom-poms. It will be an event that the whole community has had a part of."

The last time the entire school community gathered was in October 2008, and that was primarily for a schoolwide student body photo shoot in celebration of Durham Academy's 75th anniversary. Part of the difficulty in gathering so many students lies in the school's geography, with the Middle School's Academy Road campus a little more than two miles from the Upper and Pre-/Lower School campuses on Ridge Road. To make the journey in an efficient single trip, Middle Schoolers will be transported using a fleet of DA activity buses and buses from a private charter company.

"My hope is that students will return with their pom-poms and rally towels that evening to support the teams that evening with their families," McKenna said, noting that the action starts with JV volleyball at 4 p.m. and continues through the start of the varsity boys soccer game at 6 p.m. See the day's full athletics schedule on the athletics calendar. Outdoor athletic events are subject to weather and field conditions.

While the pep rally will undoubtedly be fun, it's also a step toward one of the 2015 DA Strategic Plan's goals: "A unified and welcoming community," to be achieved partly through cross-divisional experiences.

"One of the goals of the Strategic Plan is to foster more school unity, and there's no more fun way to do that than a big, schoolwide pep rally," McKenna said. "It's going to be exciting to have our entire student body, faculty and staff in one location, having some fun and getting excited for our Friday night schoolwide homecoming event."

An independent, coeducational day school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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