Thursday, 15 April 2021 23:02

Raider Magic pep rally 'important' for class of 2021

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Members of the 2021 homecoming court during Thursday's pep rally at Raider Stadium. Members of the 2021 homecoming court during Thursday's pep rally at Raider Stadium. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Raider Magic was in full effect at Raider Stadium on Thursday as Richmond Senior High School held a pep rally for students, players and fans.

The event, which was organized by the school’s administration and assisted by the Senior Senate, aimed to recognize the class of 2021 and get Raider Nation amped up for Friday’s state playoff game.

No. 4 Richmond will host No. 5 Middle Creek at 7:30 p.m. in the opening round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.

Arthur Gilliam, who serves as an adviser to the Senate and was named RSHS’ Teacher of the Year this week, said the Raider Magic Night Pep Rally was also meant to give students and their families a slice of normalcy in an otherwise unconventional school year.

“We do (homecoming court) every year, but with COVID we weren’t sure if it would happen for the class of 2021,” Gilliam explained. “With everything that’s been going on, the students and the seniors needed this moment to celebrate. 

“These kids have been through so much, so it’s all about that celebration. And that’s why we felt it was important.”

The JROTC color guard opened the night by presenting the colors, and choral director Chuck Wright and three students sang the National Anthem.

A total of 15 senior football players, along with a classmate they chose to sponsor, were recognized on the homecoming court. Fellow seniors Georgia Grace Anderson and Jaiden Tillman introduced each court member.

“We are just happy to have something, especially how our senior year went for us,” Isaiah Jones, a senior defensive back, said. “This year was so different having to get used to being online, so this was a great experience.

“The best part was having everybody together,” he smiled. “It was cool to see everyone dressed up and it made things feel kind of normal again. Now we’re ready to focus our attention on the game tomorrow.”

The Raider marching band and director Edwin Carter were also on hand, while the JROTC saber drill team participated in the homecoming court presentation. The varsity and junior varsity cheerleading teams, coached by Meredith Hood and Callie Ingram, also performed for the crowd.

Several other contests and games took place, including a pie eating contest between teachers Shanda Roberson, Tiffany Covington and Lisa James. 

Hamlet Middle School students Billy West and Jay Hamilton participated in a field goal competition, with West hitting a 30-yarder, and sophomore Sheccid Heaton painted a “Richmond Raiders” sign throughout the course of the evening.

Live entertainment was also provided by Tillman, Orrick McDougald and Erin McNair. The MUSCO LED lighting system accompanied their performances by illuminating Raider Stadium in a series of green and yellow glows.

“The kids have to work hard in school, but they build memories around these other things,” head principal Jim Butler said. “That’s part of what we try to do. We want to create those moments that make it all worthwhile. They’ve lost so much and hopefully we recaptured some of it for them.

“We know the importance of education, but we also have to have things like this to hold on to,” he added. “This was our first big event that we’ve been able to have in a long time. These are the kind of moments the kids will think back on and remember high school as a positive experience.

Senior football players Tremel Jones and C.J. Tillman closed the pep rally by encouraging fans to attend Friday’s game. Tickets are still available on GoFan.

“It was amazing tonight, it turned out incredible,” Gilliam closed. “Seeing the kids dressed up and having their moment, and the parents getting to see their kids enjoy tonight, it was really important.

“The cheerleaders, the art and the band getting to come together and participate allowed them to display things they haven’t been able to do all year.” 

Below are the members of this year’s homecoming court, in numerical order by jersey number:

No. 1 Tremel Jones, Jayla McDougald

No. 2 Dalton Stroman, Jakerra Covington

No. 3 Amir Webb, Aniya Robinson

No. 15. Jarod Morrison

No. 17 Dominic Leviner, Allyson Leggett

No. 18 Isaiah Jones, Raven Newton

No. 22 Jaron Coleman, J’Niya Covington

No. 24 C.J. Tillman, Caroline Whitley

No. 28 Jamarion Short, Summer Thompson

No. 30 Mack West, Emma Perry

No. 55 Caleb Wilson, Macey O’Neal

No. 64 Joshua Mabe, Kayleigh Fields

No. 67 Turner Howell, Macy Ward

No. 75 Austin Moore, Calleigh Hubbard

No. 86 Trevor Moss, Lindsay Skipper

PHOTO GALLERY: A full photo gallery of Thursday’s pep rally is available on the Richmond Observer's Facebook page.


Last modified on Thursday, 15 April 2021 23:11
Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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