Wildcat Choice Awards Backlight Rally Slimes the Audience’s Expectations


Lauren Guss and Stasha Waugh

On Nov. 4, students lined up outside the gym doors with white apparel, hoping to glow under the blacklights. Neon posters, themed performances and buckets of slime were awaiting them inside: the celebrated blacklight rally was about to begin. The theme was Wildcat Choice Awards, inspired by the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, an award show in which kids get to vote for their favorite stars on various honors and green goo is poured onto the celebrities during the show. With the doors open, crowds crammed onto the bleachers, and after a countdown, the gym lights cut and the blacklights lit up the neon decorations on the walls. 

The night prior, ASB spent the night in the gym preparing for the following morning’s anticipated event. Senior ASB member Carys Hay explained, “We’re here for 4-5 hours the night before for rally setup. We hang up all the posters–those big banners that you see on the sides, we have to string those up and throw them across the ceiling. So there’s a lot that goes into it that people don’t really see.” Their hard work paid off, as students’ cheered in response to the glowing assortment of drawings and signs. 

The rally began as Mr. Smith, a West Ranch Honors English 10 and theatre teacher, was handed a microphone. As the crowd went silent in respect, Mr. Smith sang the National Anthem. Cheers followed, and the performances of the rally began. 

Next up, Principal Mr. Fisher rang the victory bell with the rally’s spirit stick, calling for each grade to cheer as loud as they could, attempting to beat the others in school spirit. The seniors led their class to victory.

West Ranch Cheer had been preparing their rally routine, and Cheer Captain Emma Hamilton expressed excitement on her efforts in planning: “We have been working on this routine for many weeks. The theme of the rally definitely influenced the routine: once ASB gives us the theme, we have our music made to coordinate with it. Then, the other captains and I think of stunts and dances that work with the music.” Their routine’s music included snippets of popular songs from Nickelodeon shows, which played as the Cheer team stunted and tumbled.

Hamilton continued, “Rallies are extremely important for the cheer program because we use them as a way to get students excited about games or upcoming events at school. We love promoting school spirit and getting everyone involved!”

Applause and cheers from the audience transitioned the rally to its next component: the Wildcat Choice Awards. Students were given the opportunity to vote for their peers for different awards, including Most Spirited, awarded to Celeste Babakhanian, Celebrity Look-Alike, presented to Savanna Aglubat, Best Duo, won by Avery Van Harte and Erin Ha and Star Athlete, awarded to Carsen Yahata. 

After the awards were handed out, the West Ranch dance team took the floor. The team worked hard on an amazing routine full of fun choreography and tricks for students to enjoy. 

“[The] Dance team puts time and effort to learn and clean each rally dance from our amazing captains,” emphasized one of West Ranch Dance Team new freshman member, Zelie Markovich.

The MCs then transitioned the crowd towards a competitive game of Twister: the MCs chose two people from each class to partake in the game, and the first grade level to lose would have to have slime poured all over them. Bracing themselves for impact, the two freshman class representatives were slimed.

Next up was one of the crowd favorites: the West Ranch Hip Hop team. As their glow-stick-jewelry shined in the blacklight, they danced the routine they had been working on for weeks prior. Camaron Steen, Hip Hop Vice President, commented,This rally took us around two to three weeks to really put it all together. The President, our other Vice President and I, we came up with our theme and we kind of wanted it to be very old school in a way, so that’s how we came up with the songs.” Steen continued, “We kind of like to do our own thing and follow our own theme. We get the ideas from what we would like to do and how we want the audience to see us, along with the theme of the rally, and then we just kind of take it all into our own thing and make it our own.”  

Once they hit their final move, the crowd roared with nothing but cheers and applause for the team. “All of us got really good feedback from the audience. The crowd was very into what we were doing and they really liked the way that we set it up and the way we put it all together–mixing kind of like a 90s old school theme mixed with the New Generation theme, just putting it all together. So, I think the audience really enjoyed that and they were just really into it,” Steen ended.

Additionally, West Ranch’s very own theatre program had an exciting announcement following Hip Hop’s thrilling performance. That night would be the second out of four showings of their show, Alice in Wonderland, and the next day would hold the final two for students to see. Senior Hope Hepburn, playing Alice, expressed, “For this rally, I’m excited that I get to talk about our theater production going on right now, Alice in Wonderland, which I’m one of the Alice’s for.”

Next, drumline recreated their popular neon-paint-and-trash-can performance. As paint poured from their bottles and splashed onto trash can bottoms, the drumline was ready to perform. As they played, the paint immediately flew, sending the audience into awe as their coveralls glowed with splotches of paint. “I think it went really good, I think it was definitely better than it was last year. I think the paint was a lot more effective,” Senior Drumline Captain Truman Harrah suggested, “We used different paints this time, so it definitely went really well. We didn’t go as crazy as last year, so we kind of went more simple and more effectively and I think that went really well.”  

To conclude, the MCs riled up the students for West Ranch Football’s first playoff game that night, complete with a corresponding Nick @ Night theme, where students were suggested to wear pajamas. “

I think this rally went really well,” Hay explained in relief. “I’m very, very proud of it. I think we try a lot of the time with rallies to improve from mistakes we made last year and obviously I think there are some things we could’ve fixed. I think Mr. Smith did great, the drumline was amazing, cheer, dance, they always do great.” 

Hepner, also an ASB member, noted, “It’s so exciting to see and hear everyone talking about it being like ‘Oh, that poster was amazing!’ or ‘That act was amazing!’ It’s so cool hearing people excited about it. It raises school spirit, especially before a big game like tonight where we have our first playoff game, which is so exciting. So, getting everyone hyped up is definitely very important.”

With few rallies remaining in the Class of 2023’s high school career, Steen made mention of the matter: “This being my final rally in a way, it makes me feel very kind of sad. At the same time I’m kind of feeling very nostalgic because I’ve been doing this since freshman year and I honestly thought I would be doing this forever, the rallies, because I really love the rallies and putting on a show for the people–but this is like closing a chapter. I’m kind of not ready for it to be over, but at the same time, I’m excited for what’s in store for the next season of my life.” 

Cats, look out for ASB’s next rallies on their Instagram, @westranchasb, and make sure to follow up with the West Ranch Football team’s progress through playoffs!