Student section leaders promote school spirit

Nathan Gibbs, Sports Editor

Westerville South student section celebrates Beach Night while cheering Wildcat football team on to a 48-21 victory over New Albany. Photo by Amanda Crist


Football season is back, and returning with it is the Wildcat student section and a new group of students to lead it. This year, seniors Melanie Kowalski and Claudia Santino have taken on the role of student section leaders.

Santino hopes that the two can bring back the energy and excitement that last year’s student section seemed to lack. For her, football games are a significant part of the high school experience, and for the seniors, this is their last season in the student section, and Santino wants to help make it their best one yet.

“I wanted to be a student section leader to bring the atmosphere that was missing,” said Santino. “I love rallying the crowd to be crazy and loud. Our team is coming back to the top and I want to bring the student’s energy with them.”

Santino and Kowalski both said that they want to get the word out about the games through the morning announcements and the student section’s Twitter profile in an effort to improve attendance for this year’s games, as well as make the student section more welcoming for everyone. “This year everyone is a part of it,” said Santino. “It’s not just one type of kid from a certain social group or sports team. It’s everyone and everyone is there to have fun.”

She also wants to give students more incentives for coming to games. With help from the athletics office, she was able to provide shirts for cheerleaders to throw into the bleachers at halftime of the Worthington Kilbourne game. Santino hopes that students who come exclusively for these incentives like these will end up enjoying their experience and be willing to attend games regularly.

Attendance is also important because it gives the two more possible candidates for next year’s student section leaders. According to Santino and Kowalski, student section leaders are chosen by the previous years leaders, based on their energy and ability to hype up the crowd.

Gabe Combs and Eric Kim, both freshmen, reflected on their first experience in this year’s student section. “My first impression of the student section was that it was really energetic and wild,” said Kim. Combs felt the same, and added that the positivity and energy from the students significantly improves the experience.

Senior Donovan Slattery added that the best part of the student section for him is how excited the crowd gets after touchdowns, and how it seems to bring people together. “It has made my high school experience so much fun through leading all of the younger students and putting myself out there,” he said. “I love the environment, as well as getting others to have fun too.”

Both Santino and Kowalski hope to maintain this enjoyment for all students attending the games this season. “I’m excited for this year,” said Santino. “I want people to want to be there and want to be a part of the crowd.”