Pep Assemblies of the Past


1990 Kennedy Yearbook

Cougars raise a sign during an outdoor pep assembly.

When students think of pep assemblies at Kennedy, what comes to mind is who will win the spirit stick next or what contests will be held. In past years, there has been anything from beatboxing battles, Christmas caroling competitions and toilets rolled onto the gymnasium floor with confetti cannons. Students tend to look forward to the next pep assembly but never stop to consider what they were like years ago and how different things may have been.

Back in 1972, Kennedy’s gymnasium had only one banner for the basketball team. The pep assembly that followed this would be one to remember. Randy Krejci, former Kennedy Athletic Director, was a senior at Kennedy during the first win. He recalls it like it was yesterday.

“It was really neat to see someone get rewarded, whether it be a team or an individual. When we won the…1972 Boys’ Basketball state championship, that was a big deal. It was really celebrated,” said Krejci.

While these pep assemblies were full of cheer and support for the school’s sports, there wasn’t the typical confetti, chants or games. Competing for the spirit stick was unheard of and pie-ing the principal was a mere dream. Most of these traditions we know today wouldn’t exist for another 30 years.

Thanks to Kennedy’s assistant principal in the early 2000s, Dr. Corey Tafoya, we were introduced to not only the spirit stick but many other games and contests. His ideas would bring students together from all around the school, as well as shape pep assemblies into what they are today. Dr. Mary Wilcynski, Kennedy’s principal from 1997-2013, remembers the impact Tafoya left on the school years ago.

“His crazy contests brought students from all corners of the building into the spirit of the school,” said Dr. Wilcynski. “It’s wonderful to have so many people feel that they belong to something bigger than themselves.”

Fast forward to 2013, Principal Jason Kline would experience his first-ever pep assembly at Kennedy. He brought back pep assemblies at the school he previously worked at, but none would compare to what he was going to see at Kennedy. When Activities Director Aaron Stecker took over the coordination of the pep assemblies, they only went uphill. They transformed into confetti-filled rallies filled with costumes and contests.

“Mr. Stecker has really ramped them up, he’s the mastermind, he puts all the stuff together. People don’t realize he’s the man behind the script,” said Kline.

The most recent pep assemblies from the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years were some of the most celebrated Kline can recall. With the added class of ‘26 and the long-awaited return of pep assemblies after COVID-19, students were thrilled to be united and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

At Kennedy, the hope is pep assemblies will continue to grow and bring us closer together for years to come. While the faces at Kennedy may have changed over the years, the pride, spirit and loyalty have reamined stronger than ever.