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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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The spirit-makers of ETHS

Behind the scenes with the students proudest to rep the orange and blue

Throughout the school year, ETHS competes in hundreds of athletic competitions. While it’s the athletes’ jobs to play well, there are other groups who work long hours to evoke a sense of school spirit within the Evanston community.

The cheerleaders on the sidelines at every home basketball and football game, the Pomkits spending countless hours perfecting routines to be competition ready, the ETHS Pep Band performing in front of hundreds every year at basketball games, the ETHS Color Guard mesmerizing students with the beautiful flags they spin, and lastly, Kit Pit, the Instagram account that organizes student sections for upcoming school events—without these spirit makers, many students would be at a loss to find school spirit at ETHS.

 

Adrian Garton

When senior Natalia Fleming started competitive cheerleading at seven years old, she knew that the sport would be something that she would carry into her time at ETHS.

“I’ve done competitive cheerleading most of my life, and when I got the opportunity to try out for [the Cheer team] in the summer before sophomore year, I knew I had to,” Fleming reflected. “I had friends who were a year older than me also trying out, so I felt like I was walking into a great community.”

Part of that “great community” is a product of the lack of captains on the team. Without having any dedicated leaders, the athletes all have to rely on themselves and their teamwork, never letting each other fall behind in practice or during game days.

“Our team depends on everybody. Being able to trust your teammates is necessary to be our best version,” Fleming said. “There can’t be anyone falling behind, and it isn’t individual at all.”

The cheerleaders’ high energy on the sidelines of football and basketball games is an integral part of boosting school spirit.

“I like to think that, at games and at the pep rally, people are always excited to see us perform the stunts that we work so hard on,” remarked Fleming. “It’s nice to have a purpose at games, and I like to see the crowd pumped up.”

 

Adrian Garton

Many of Pomkit co-captain Kayla Simmons-Hood’s favorite childhood memories involve dance. From cheering with the High Ride Chargers to showing off her moves at family gatherings, dance has always been an integral aspect of Simmons-Hood’s life. Watching past Pomkits at the ETHS football games engraved the idea of dancing for school spirit in Simmons-Hood’s mind.

“I always looked up to the dancers who were older than me, because they always looked like they were having fun,” Simmons-Hood remarked. “Not only were they good dancers, but they inspired me [to be a] Pomkit and have that same sense of community that they did.”

The Pomkits spend countless hours in the gym perfecting routines for basketball and football home games. As the Pomkits enter the field or court, holding pom-poms high and getting in place for their routines, the crowd roars, keeping spirits high regardless if the home team is winning or losing.

“[Pomkits] hype everybody up, especially if we are losing,” Simmons-Hood said. “When we are practicing, everyone can hear our music throughout the school, so there’s an expectation that the routines are going to pump everybody up. After we perform, [the team] can come back with ease, with the crowd ready for the next half.”

Being a captain of the Pomkits is not for the faint of heart. It involves choreographing and teaching routines to fellow Pomkits, while also being under the pressure of maintaining a good routine—something that Simmons-Hood has excelled at this past season.

“The biggest thing that the Pomkit community has taught me is patience,” Simmons-Hood stated. “Everyone is full of different opinions, and making the best routines to get the crowd pumped up is needed.”

The hard work of the Pomkits paid off. After an amazing season this past year with clean routines from co-captains Cecily Jordan and Simmons-Hood and choreographers Trae Turner and Alexa Krutchen, the Pomkits advanced to the IHSA sectionals after scoring within the top 5 in the Central Suburban League South (CSL) competitions. Not only have ETHS students been entertained by the Pomkits, but now hundreds have seen the Pomkits killing it at the state level.

 

Emily Kirkpatrick

The opening notes of ETHS’ fight song is a sound that never fails to spark motivation for players and fans alike. The marching band’s presence in the bleachers of Lazier Field or on the turf during halftime is a product of practice that spans from the summer into the fall.

It also requires coordination of over 100 musicians, a task taken on by talented students like junior Lila Selch. Being a drum major means commanding hundreds of musicians to stay organized. They control the music that rings throughout the student section of sporting events, keeping the rhythm in line, and providing immense amounts of entertainment for all, manipulating everything with a slight movement of the mace.

The pressure of this role can be overbearing, but not for Selch. Selch plays an important role in the band as both a drum major and trombonist.

“Being a drum major is a lot of work. We get there early, we set up everything,” Selch commented. “It’s hard navigating this leadership with your friends. How do I give criticism to people I am friends with?”

The position of drum major is not for the weak, but with Selch’s efforts, the marching band can perform to the best of their ability and provide the school with endless amounts of school spirit.

“I love getting to explore leadership in different ways,” said Selch. “There are not a lot of extracurricular opportunities in the school where you get to lead 120 people.”

There are so many people who contribute time and effort to the band in order to enhance ETHS’s school spirit, including student musicians, staff conductors and choreographers, and everyone who helps set up the equipment
that the band requires. While many students sit and watch football games, the band is putting in practice every single day to produce a great show. Rehearsals take place both in class and one day per week outside of school.

“[Marching band has] taught me so much,” Selch said. “It’s given me a creative outlet. It teaches me all these skills about how to work with others and how to improve through practice.”

As well as being featured at football games, the marching band has appearances at the Fourth of July parade, drumline sendoffs for State athletes, pep rallies, Boosterpalooza and various competitions.

 

Emily Kirkpatrick

Watching the ETHS color guard Fayvel Selch automatically became infatuated with the colorful flags spinning around in complex patterns. Every flag is in sync, displaying its beauty for everyone in the crowd. Fayvel was originally a flue player but got involved with the colorguard because of a friend and now is one of the co-captains along with Natalie Hammond.

“I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” Fayvel said.

The origin of colorguard originated because of the Civil War. As soldiers went to fight, the band would play and flags would swing to keep their spirits high. The same idea has been upheld to the present day, where we now have the color guard to encourage our very own football team.

When people think of spirit makers in a typical sporting event, they first think of cheerleaders with their poms on the sidelines, a band providing music throughout games, and maybe even a dance team putting on a halftime show. Most of the time, the color guard goes unappreciated despite the dedication it takes to entertain. Every game, they are there to provide a visual aspect while the band plays.

“I think the marching band would be a lot less exciting without the guard… we’re here and yet people don’t really know what we do,” Fayvel said.

Not only do they entertain us they are also competitors in the Midwest Color Guard Cir- cuit and even won the SAA Allegiance Contest at Jacobs H.S. on Feb. 3.

 

Adrian Garton

Juniors Josephine Teoudoussia and Colin Livatino were sitting at a basketball game, disappointed at how boring the crowd was. They tried everything possible to get the crowd to support their basketball team, encouraging fans to make noise and engage in cheers. That’s when the duo joined with fellow classmate Chris Fargo to take over an organized school spirit group in its second year at ETHS: Kit Pit.

“I am a really sociable person, so being a part of a club that was striving to create a community for all groups of people to be loud and hype up their classmates was right down my alley,” Teoudoussia stated.

Kit Pit is a social media presence on Instagram that goes by the username @ethskitpit, where students are informed on a near-daily basis about Evanston sporting events, including clothing themes and general game to-knows that hype up ETHS students. Kit Pit has evolved from past student sections, from Blue Crew which was founded nearly 20 years ago, to Paw Patrol, the official student section just two years ago. And after a name change and new leadership, Teoudoussia, Livatino, Fargo and the rest of the Kit Pit crew have found a community of their own by running the group.

“My favorite part about being in Kit Pit is planning and attending the blackout game,” Teoudoussia stated, referring to games against New Trier where Evanston students pack the crowd wearing all black. “This game unites people, as silly as it sounds. It gives me such a sense of community and spirit. It brings Evanston together like I’ve never seen before and is simply such a fun event. Everyone at ETHS knows about this game, and it’s just such a fun game to go to and dress up for. I also love how Kit Pit is working towards including people from all backgrounds and also continuing to try and have student sections present at sports other than just basketball and football.”

Before Kit Pit, student involvement in Evanston student sections was lacking. But now, with the efforts made by the Kit Pit organizers and the rest of the student body, Evanston has thrived in school spirit. Kit Pit has also put an effort into advertising all ETHS sports and encouraging a student section for every event, whether at home or on the road.

“Kit Pit makes me feel proud of being from Evanston and proud of being a student at ETHS.,” Teoudussia stated. “Kit Pit is a place where students can gather and be a part of bringing spirit to Evanston. Kit Pit is the big- gest contributor of spirit in the high school because we get people from all different grades, races, and genders to come together and cheer for their classmates. It shows solidarity and care for ETHS and all the students.”

Kit Pit is a special part of the ETHS community by providing spirit for everyone. And for Teoudoussia, being involved with Kit Pit is a huge part of her life.

“Kit Pit makes me feel proud of being from Evanston and proud of being a student at ETHS. It feels good to support and cheer on our classmates.”

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About the Contributors
Eva Sondgeroth, Assistant Sports Editor
Fiona Vosper, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Fiona Vosper (she/her). I am a sophomore and I mainly write for the sports and opinion sections. I have been writing for The Evanstonian since my freshman year and love contributing to this amazing community of writers. The Evanstonian has strengthened my passion for writing and has also opened my eyes to many different perspectives within Evanston and beyond. Outside of The Evanstonian, I am also a varsity cross-country runner and soccer player. Additionally, I am a facilitator for the EMERGE Initiative club. In my free time, I love to explore bookstores and go on long runs by the beach.
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