Spirited Back to School Pep Rally

Mike Boteilho kicks-off the festivities. (Ron Morris)
Girls Volleyball. (Ron Morris)
Indy Cheerleaders. (Ron Morris)
Indy Football. (Ron Morris)
Mrs. O, affectionately known as Indy’s biggest football fan. (Ron Morris)
The dance contest winners. (Ron Morris)
Independence Cheerleaders. (Ron Morris)
Soccer team. (Ron Morris)
Cross Country team. (Ron Morris)
Football players appealing to crowd in dance contest. (Ron Morris)
Principal LeGrand, Assistant Principal Hoyt, Athletic Diirector Ashley. (Ron Morris)
Mayor addresses the crowd. (Ron Morris)
Girls Tennis team makes their entrance. (Ron Morris)

The Town of Mint Hill in coordination with Independence High School hosted the 3rd Annual Back to School Pep Rally at Veterans Memorial Park this past weekend.

In attendance were faculty members, coaches, boosters, marching band, cheerleaders, athletes and their families to kick-off the 2019 school year.

The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce collected school supplies to assist children and teachers to have a successful start of the school year. All items will be distributed through Servant’s Heart to different Mint Hill Schools.

There were rides, games, bounce house, obstacle course for kids, giant Jenga and more activities available for family fun. Also, there was plenty of food available for all to enjoy.

It was a time to connect with friends prior to the school year, and to energize school spirit prior to opening day and upcoming fall sports with Indy football due to kick-off on August 23rd.

Independence football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, cross country, basketball, cheerleaders, and boosters were on hand along with staff, coaches, student body to get the school spirit flowing along with Chick-fil-A including long time PA announcer and play-by-play voice at many Independence sporting events Mike Boteilho who always fires up the crowd.

Sheryl Smith, Assistant to the Town Manager and Event Coordinator, answered our questions pertaining to the Pep Rally.

Q1. What is the purpose of the event?

In 2017, the Town changed the format of our events to once a month and re-branded them as Family Fun Nights. The purpose of Family Fun Nights was to have fewer, quality events to promote our town and all it has to offer while bringing together members of the community in a fun social setting. We thought it would be fun to do an old school Pep Rally.

Q2. What makes the event special?

This event gives families the opportunity to come together and catch up with friends after a long summer.

Q3. How challenging is it to coordinate this type of event? 

Every event bring brings its own challenges. But we have a great relationship with the staff and Booster Club at Independence High School. I’m always impressed with the staff and students.  They always leave the space where we host the event in great shape. The event ends at 9 p.m. and Principal LeGrand is there until the last student is picked up.

Q4. What have you planned differently this year to improve the Pep Rally? 

This year we moved the event to the park. We moved our last event to the park because of the fountain construction and it was well received. Kids love having the extra space to run around.

Q5. What criteria do you use to evaluate an events success? 

When I see kids laughing and families having fun together, and when people tell me they had a great time at an event, I know it was successful.

Independence High School Athletic Director, Elijah Ashley added, “The purpose of the rally is to provide our Mint Hill community with a great back to school event. The event is special because we all come together as a community. Coordinating the event is not difficult, Ms. Smith from the Town Hall does a lot of the ground work. As a staff we work as a team to make it all come together. The event was moved to the park to have more space and allow for more vendors. The smiles on the faces of everyone makes the event worthwhile.”

We also reached out to Chief of Police, Tim Ledford to discuss how the department prepares for such an event.

Q1. How challenging is it to have your department provide safety and security?

It is not a challenge at all to assist with these events. It is part of what we do, and we are equipped to handle it. We are given enough advance notice to properly staff. We call in extra officers to be assigned specifically to the event. Once the event ends the officer(s) is/are released. With the events being at Mint Hill Veterans Park we use a scaled down version of our Mint Hill Madness Security plan. This plan has served us well for many years.

Q2. What have you planned differently this year to improve security?

We look at each individual event and try to anticipate problems that may arise. Such as traffic, parking, crowd control, etc. We look at past events that are of similar size and see what we learned or what assets were needed for those events. Once we look at all the factors involved, we determine how may assets we need to deploy for each event.

Q3. How do you measure your performance success during and after the event?

Once the event has concluded we conduct an after-action review. We determine what problems arose and determine how we handled them and how we may be able to prevent them in the future. We determine if we need more officers in the future for traffic or security etc. We look at if we could do the same job with less assets and still be effective. Each event can be a learning experience so we can be better prepared for the next event. Just like in sports, practice and repetition make you better prepared.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran’s affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.