Johnston High classes battle it out in annual melee

Seniors vs. Juniors vs. Sophomores vs. Freshmen


“Panther Pride” was everywhere inside Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Stadium last Wednesday night during yet another super student success story for the 2021 edition of “Battle of the Classes.”

Proud parents and family members, scores of students along with an extraordinary show of support from the Johnston High School faculty led by Principal Dr. Donna Pennacchia made up the audience for what many people concurred was “a specular night of athletic competition” highlighted by unmatched enthusiasm that shined brighter than the arc-light inside the state-of-the-art artificial turfed stadium.

“What a show of school spirit!” exclaimed Robert “Bob” Deming, a custodian/field attendant who takes special care of Polisena Stadium. “You could say this is spirit unlimited here tonight.”

JHS Science Department Chairperson/long-time organizer Greg Russo said, “This is one of the best nights of the year; it’s all about our students.”

It was also an event featuring teams of selected students from the classes of 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, who were backed by groups of countless cheering classmates and were decked out in specially designed T-shirts replete with either their names of nicknames on the back.

JHS’ unique “Battle of the Classes” is a well-organized special school social event that serves as the official kick-off for “Spirit Week” and features a total of 18 competitions and set of rules that are all outlined in a printed booklet for members of all teams who, as the cover so aptly reads “must have a permission slip signed by a parent/guardian to participate in the Battle of the Classes.”

Last Wednesday night’s edition began with the one-mile relay that featured teams of four boys and four girls who were required to complete four laps around the stadium track,

That relay, which was backed the loud sounds of cheers, was only the beginning for events such as the Saran Saran Wrap, Sack Race, Walk the Plank, Hula Madness, Animals on the Run, Ready Stead, Over/Under, Reindeer Run, Eat and Run, Dizzy Izzy, Plunder Pass, Parachute Pop, Tug of War and Attendance of the  Classes.

“Attendance counts as an event based on the percentage of the class that attends the battle,” Russo explained. “Tickets purchased for family members and friends during school will also count but tickets purchased at the gate will not count and all team members must purchase a ticket.”

Russo, who is known for using his on-going creativity for students at his alma mater also makes the “Battle of the Classes” extra special by providing play-by-play commentary throughout each of the 15 uniquely named and designed  events.

“I don’t think there is an event like this at any other school in the state,” was a common cry from the night’s spectators, and as Deming stated at night’s end: “Then again, there’s nothing that comes close to matching Panther Pride!”


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