Student sections leaders are fired up, and they want you to be too


For Senior Maizey Sczpanek, the hard-fought reward at the end of the school week each fall is but one word: football.

“Every single Friday, I get so excited,” Maizey said. “Even just waking up, because it’s a football game day, and I get to go and have fun that night and just be around the whole school and be loud.”

Though her passion for the sport is shared by many at FHC, Maizey has a stronger connection than most. Maizey, along with three other seniors, is a student section leader, who, as the name would suggest, helps to lead the student section at each game. 

The most well-known job of the student section leaders is to select the “outing” of each game so the high-school fans can all coordinate looks during games. Yet, there’s more demanded of the student section leaders than just deciding themes; the four of them are also responsible for hyping up the entire attending student body. 

“We bring people together, keep them organized, and keep everyone loud and hyped up,” Maizey said. “Everyone already goes to the student section to hang out but being able to get people excited and get people loud is probably the biggest part of it, along with just having fun.”

The student section leaders have to be able to handle the pressure of standing in front of a large, excitable group of their peers and fire them up.

“It is a little weird being someone that every single kid in the school literally looks to,” Maizey said. 

This quality can be hard to identify. So, instead of electing individuals into this position, it is directly passed down. Every year before graduating, the four student section leaders each select an upcoming senior to be their replacement. 

Senior Marcos Rodriguez was quite surprised when this process allowed him to become a student section leader. 

“[Getting selected] was a pretty big surprise to me,” Marcos said. “I had been kind of a quieter fan, so it was a bit of a shock for me; but, I know I can take the responsibility.”

However, the person on the other end of the decisions saw it with a different lens. FHC alumnus Vaughn Rodriguez knew that choosing Marcos was the right choice.

“Choosing Marcos to be a student section leader was easy to do,” said Vaughn, who graduated in 2019. “I always knew him to be pretty quiet but very outgoing when we hung out. I saw myself in him; I’m quiet when I’m nervous but sometimes, I can be pretty loud and outgoing. Being a student section leader helped me with that a lot. I figured that [there is] no better way to come out of his shell a bit than to be out in a situation that requires you to hype up a few hundred kids. He was my best junior friend, and I felt he deserved it.”

While Vaughn saw Marcos as someone with a quieter demeanor rising to the challenge, Maizey feels that her extroverted personality will help her with the job. 

“I’m definitely an outgoing person and tend to be kind of loud,” said Maizey, who prides herself on having never missed a football game. “I like to have fun, but I like it when everyone else is having fun too. Being a student section leader, I’m hoping that I can help everyone can have a lot of fun this year.”

Having fun and uniting the crowd remains paramount in the duties of a student section leader, no matter who it is doing the cheering. Marcos and Maizey, along with the other two student sections leaders Peter Bardelli and Ally Ringler,  want students to get loud, but they also want them to feel comfortable doing so.

“A lot of people go to football games, and I mean a lot of people,” Vaughn said.  “When I was a student section leader, I noticed that a lot of people in attendance just stood there. It felt as if they were nervous to go all out and cheer for the Rangers. Sometimes all the fans need is a little nudge toward comfort, and they’ll be going wild. It’s important to have a person running through the student section getting people fully immersed in the game. With a student section leader, students feel like ‘hey, I can cheer because there are a few other kids doing it with me.’ That’s super awesome to me.”

Marcos agrees with this and thinks that the students who can benefit most from this idea are the underclassmen. 

“Our main goal is to get every student in the student section active and in the game because I know, in the past, the effort level goes down as you walk up the stands,” Marcos said. “I’d love to keep everyone loud, not just the upperclassmen.”

Maizey concurs saying that she wishes she went “all-out” as a freshman when she had the chance. Additionally, she wants more than just the student body to get excited to cheer on the Rangers. 

“ I don’t only want the students being loud I want the parents being loud; I want little kids being loud,” Maizey said. “I want every single person in the stadium from forest hills to be rowdy and be loud and really be behind the football team.”

The football time thrives off the unity of the student section, and the leaders understand this. They know that the best way to unite the student section is just to continue the sense of unity that FHC is already home to. 

“I think there is a wide variety of people [at FHC] and over the years, I’ve met so many people at football games and at school,” Maizey said. “It’s good to meet all these different types of people and be able to work with different types of people. I think there’s a lot of really kind souls at this school and everyone should get along with everybody— and for the most part, everybody does. I love the community of our school.”