Return of the rally

Ryann Clawson, Emily D’Alessio, and Heather Clarke form a base to support Jessie Savastano.


            On December 23, Old Bridge High School hosted its first pep rally since 2019. The entire student body and staff gathered to join in an energetic display of pride and community bonding right before winter break.  

            The faculty band kicked off the event, featuring Vice Principal James Oliveri on guitar, science teacher Robert Cotugno on bass, physical education teacher Richard Torok on drums, and Engineering and Design teacher and Student Activities Coordinator Scott Beverly, who hosted the event, on vocals. “The pep rally was a really fun experience, especially since we haven’t had one since November of 2019 which was my freshman year,” senior Xuraya Boykins stated. “I was really excited to relive that experience as a senior.”  

            Beverly then introduced the cheer team, who put on a spectacular performance. “I loved being able to put together a routine and showcase it with a bunch of other talented clubs,” said junior cheerleader Lillian Antar. “It was so cool to see everyone come together right before the holidays and just have fun.”   

            After the cheer team captivated the audience, English teacher Jessica Tosonotti and faculty from the GNC and main building performed a holiday dance. “Our time was limited, and some teachers didn’t have much dance experience, but we completely overcame all of those obstacles,” explained Tosonotti, who choreographed and led the performance. “It was amazing to see how dedicated everyone was to making this fun idea a reality.”

            Following the teacher’s performance, AFJROTC demonstrated armed regulation, a sequence where they march with drill rifles, illustrating flawless coordination skills under the leadership of sophomore Cadet Captain Brianna Pelaez-Callejas. “We marched in step and showed off our skill and comradery,” stated senior Ashley Mullin. “It was awesome being able to perform, showing everyone who was there a piece of what the AFJROTC is like.”  

Courtnee McFarlane, Kimorah Ortiz, Chelsey Duah, Rhyanna Henry, and Liana Adams perform the Afrobeat routine.

            Afterwards, the Afrobeat Club performed in front of the whole school for the first time. Their striking routine celebrated black culture through movement and rhythm. “The inspiration was being more involved and presenting African culture through dance,” stated Captain Chelsey Duah.  

            Then, the Unified Cheer Team performed an amazing routine. “Working with Project Unified was an amazing feeling. They did a great job and worked hard before their performance,” stated cheerleader Marcella Kowalski.  

Angelina Iacobelli and Isabella Florio lead the Dance Team as perform their hip-hop routine at the pep rally.

            Unified Cheer provides an inclusive opportunity for students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities to support the Unified programs. “My favorite part was the Knights cheer. I do the pom-poms and shout ‘Knights’,” said sophomore Unified Cheer member Lydiana Rodriguez. “It was amazing. I love cheering.” 

            The winter pep rally allowed the dance team, wearing their matching jackets, to perform their hip hop routine before taking the routine to competitions, and they fired up the whole gymnasium. Dance team captain Taylor Castagne stated, “My favorite part of the pep rally was performing our hip hop competition for the first time.”  

Magnolia Kortland, Lori Obdyke, Brittany Fuentes, Robert Wait (as Rudolph), Renee Galdieri, and Richard Torok perform their holiday dance routine.

            Lastly, the step team performed, showing off their artistic passion with synchronized movements and spoken words to produce complex rhythms. It’s a form of dance that uses the body as an instrument and incorporates African dancing. “My favorite part was when Step did the ripple step in three groups,” stated performer Joana Junaid. “Just hearing the crowd scream just made me so happy.”  

            Sir OBie, the full-costume school mascot, also made his triumphant return in front of the whole student body. “It was so cool to be introduced and walk out and see the crowd,” shared Sir OBie. 

Sir OBie struts across the court to fire up the crowd.

            The last time Sir OBie appeared, teacher Devin Menker was behind the mask, but a student has now taken the helm and appeared at a handful of events before taking to the floor at the pep rally. “It felt weird not being in the stands with my friends,” stated Sir OBie. “It was really hot in the gym and even hotter in the costume, but it was so much fun.”  

            Students and staff alike enjoyed the event and are just thrilled to see these traditions continue. 

Posted on 1/26/23

Photos by Katelyn Buchalter   

%d bloggers like this: