Wildcats break free at senior send-off rally

Vaneeza Lalani and Alana Desai

   On May 16, West Ranch students packed the gym for the senior send-off rally hosted by ASB. Banners and decorations with the “High School Musical” inspired theme filled the area. Members of ASB ushered students into the room with bright lights and excited chatter. 

   To begin the rally, the first set of emcees (Avery Van Harte, Kyle Antepara, Erin Ha and William Seidel) invited choir member Alex Brewer to perform the national anthem. The crowd was captivated, cheering on Brewer and following the song with loud applause. 

   West Ranch Principal Mr. Fisher was then welcomed out to the stage with the long-held tradition of the spirit stick. Excited about his first graduating class of seniors, he encouraged the crowd to make noise as cheer performed their stunts. With just four days left of school, the senior class outperformed the rest of the school and took the win for the last time.

   Cheer was then welcomed to the stage, with a segment that featured the talented seniors and the skills they had learned over the four years they have been at West Ranch. Senior and varsity cheer member Ella Shin reflected on the preparation saying, “Preparing for the cheer performance is always stressful, but it was really fun and bittersweet because it was our last one as seniors.”

   From there, the cheer mats were rolled up to clear the floor and the dance team began their last performance of the year. They danced to “Partition” by Beyoncé and then grouped to say their goodbyes.

   Hip Hop was next. The team was welcomed to the stage for one last dance with their seniors. All members wore red to show their “High School Musical” spirit. Junior and hip hop member Ashley Owens explained why she cares about her team: “I think it’s important to show that a lot of people want to dance at all skill levels and we try to emphasize that we support everyone who wants to dance; beginner, intermediate, whatever.” At the end of the performance, the entire team huddled up and brought out roses for the graduating members for a sentimental goodbye. 

   For many, this rally was an opportunity to pass the torch off to the incoming seniors. Owens explained, “Hip hip is going to be different as I am going to be an officer next year. I had to choreograph my first dance for a group of people and I had to work on leadership stuff for this rally.” Many seniors were fortunate enough to be given the chance to leave their clubs and teams with all the tools they need to continue their success.

   Following that was West Ranch drumline’s long-awaited performance. The team marched up in front of the senior crowd and brought the energy. The group played a variety of songs and beats that amped up the crowd.

   With all the excitement in the room, the MCs transitioned into a game of knockout featuring graduating seniors. They all raced to make shots as quickly as possible to eliminate their opponents.

   With the rally almost over, West Ranch English teacher Mrs. Frame and Theater advisor Mr. Barnes in his mascot costume were invited on the stage to begin what would be an engaging performance. Soon, the stage was filled with teachers from all over campus, showing their support for the graduating class with a dance performance. Special character appearances, like Coach Varner dressed as the well-known Troy Bolton of the “High School Musical” series, got the crowd cheering loudly. 

   The time for the year-end video had come. All freshmen, sophomores and juniors were then escorted out of the gym, leaving the seniors to reminisce on their past four years here at West Ranch. With a video of all of their favorite moments edited by West Ranch TV, seniors were able to reflect on their growth and memories of high school. Also an ASB member, Ella Shin described what she will miss most about leaving ASB: “I’m gonna miss setting up for [rallies] and all the preparations-I think that’s what brought me close to the other kids in my grade.”

   That Friday, seniors left campus for the last time, and Senior week had concluded. Cats, look out for ASB’s plans for next year and congratulations to the class of 2023!