Battle of the Classes a knockout

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If last Tuesday night’s Battle of the Classes was any indication, Johnston High School’s 2017 Homecoming may have the highest level of energy since the Panthers began the annual celebration 49 year ago.

The event, which dates back at least 30 years ago, is a prelude to Homecoming designed to increase school spirit and is always a highlight of the entire academic year.

The annual Battle of the Classes, which in keeping with tradition featured 14 on-field games for students only, was held inside Mayor Joseph Polisena M. Stadium where energy levels were at a seemingly all-time high.

“It’s a good thing there isn’t a noise meter in this place,” shouted one parent of the Supreme Sophomores to another man who also wore a specially designed T-shirt. “I’ve never seen so much spirit … I’d have to say this is unmatched.”

The Battle of the Classes is that and much more.

“It’s always a special event that is well-planned,” said Dr. Bernard DiLullo, Superintendent of Johnston Public Schools. “It’s a great event for everyone that requires a lot of planning.”

Few people would dispute that theory, especially the way the 2017 edition was presented last Tuesday night.

It was a true JHS production, with support from Principal Dennis Morrell, department head, faculty members, teacher’s aides and staff that helped make the event special for the presenting Student Council – President Philip Jessop, Vice President Emily Raposo, Recording Secretary Isabella Nastasi, Corresponding Secretary Carlos Fragoso and Public Relations Correspondent Lauren Civetti and Advisor Greg Russo.

Russo has been around for each and every Battle of the Classes, first as a student and now as the JHS faculty member who coordinates the event with the Student Council and always gets plenty of support from seemingly everyone on Cherry Hill.

Tuesday night, Russo served as the play-by-play announcer and began the night with some lively and big-league-like introductions of the four classes.

The night was made even more special after Abby Heiser, a member of the Johnston Police Explorers Post 405 and a student at JHS, delivered yet another powerful singing of the national anthem.

The applause and cheering continued throughout the 14 on-field games that ranged from Wrap the Mummy with saran wrap, a Sack Race, Walk the Plank, Hula Madness, Animals on the Run, a Reindeer Run, Nylon Bowling to the Tug of War.

As Russo explained, each JHS class is presented by 18 students – nine boys and as many girls – who in order to participate must be active in the building of the annual Homecoming float. Team members must compete in at least five of 14 events.

There’s also a 15th event that’s not held on the field, entitled Attendance of Classes.

“This event is based on the percentage of the class that attends the Battle of the Classes,” Russo explained. “That includes family members and friends and is used in determining the overall point total.”

After all thrills, chills and cheers during Tuesday night’s battle of class vs. class, who came out the winner?

“We won’t announce that until Homecoming,” Russo said. “We’ll do that at the dance.”

Needless to day, Spirit Week – which will run Monday, Oct. 16 to Oct. 21 – could reach an all-time level when the Float Competition winner is announced as well as the annual Homecoming King and Queen.

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