Though tropical storm Irene inundated the lower levels, inflicting a multitude of bus rides on our sports teams, and last weekend’s freak Halloween snowstorm wreaked havoc in the northeast, it seems the one thing weeks of bad weather cannot dampen is the spirit of the green and white.
Though the year began in puddles, our cheerleaders and Captain Deerfield intend to ramp up the energy and excitement of this year’s Choate Day. But what gives these chipper cheerers the inspiration to hop up and down, lose their voices, and slather themselves in green paint?
For Head Cheerleader Madeline Melly ’12, the school spirit of Choate Week inspired her audition for cheerleader. “When I first got here, Choate week was something that really got my attention, and being a new sophomore, I saw school spirit first in that week. Everything came together. I realized Deerfield had a whole life that was hidden—this sense of school spirit. I was so ready to be a part of it and love it.”
For Captain Deerfield William Hess ’12, a similar love for the communal spirit of DA not only won him the role of Captain Deerfield but was also the main factor that initially drew him to campus. “Second Visit Day, I remember coming to campus and feeling this incredible sense of community. And I think this community is fueled by school spirit,” he explained.
However, a love of school spirit was not the only factor in his decision to cheer. “My two older brothers went to school here, and one of them had a computer background created of him and his friends painted green being driven around by former Headmaster Eric Widmer ’57 in his old Woodie. I wanted to be a part of that spirit. Deerfield does it bigger and better than everyone else,” Hess said.
Alaina Belanger ’12 was also influenced by an older sibling in her decision to pursue cheerleading. “I saw my sister Erica Belanger ’09 on stage freshman year and it looked like a lot of fun. I love the tradition here. The moment you step on stage, you get chills,” she recalled.
However, stepping on stage is not all fun and games. Head Cheerleader Leslie Francois ’12 joked, “No one ever tells you about the hair on the back of your legs being singed off at the bonfire.”
Apart from designing Choate Day t-shirts and discovering elaborate techniques to paint their famous megaphones, the cheerleaders and Captain Deerfield may have a surprise for the student body. “We’re all pumped. Since the hurricane, there’s been a dearth of school spirit,” Hess commented, referring to this season’s lack of home games, before finishing, “Let’s get a little bit rowdy.”