Pep Train raises school spirit


Briar Creek Photography

The Marching Atoms pose for a group picture at band camp.

Teachers abandon their lessons, students flee from their seats, and shouts mingle with music that echoes down the hallways: the Pep Train has begun.

The Pep Train is a decades-old tradition at AHS. Cheerleaders, football players, and dance team members cheer their way down the halls led, of course, by the Marching Atoms. The Marching Atoms’ informal performance will kick off their marching season as well as raise the school spirit for tonight’s football game.

“[The Pep Train is designed] to inspire school spirit, of course, and to get people at the game, which again builds school spirit and builds the image of the school. Its a great morale booster,” band director Adam Hilkert said.

The Pep Train only travels the school for special occasions such as the first varsity football game of the season, Senior Night, and pep rallies. They travel through the hallways, blasting the AHS fight song to every corner of the school. The train covers as much ground as possible and ends in front of the school, streaming out into the traffic circle to perform for the AHS community and waiting parents.

The Pep Train isn’t built overnight, though. Band students have been preparing for weeks and even attended two weeks of band camp during the summer, perfecting their program “Music of the Night,” for moments such as this. The Marching Atoms will have several performances this year, including their show at tonight’s football game.

It’s not all work and no play though, band performers say that they enjoy the Pep Train as much as the students watching.

“I love the pep train. I think its a great way for everyone to get pumped and its really awesome,” junior Caitlin Odom said.

“When I go around, when we go through the hallways, the vast majority of [students] are dancing along to the music or cheering along with the team,” Hilkert said.

The much-loved tradition is more than just an early end to R7, it raises school spirit and brings the AHS community together.

“[The best part is] that it’s fun,” Hilkert said. “It unifies the school, it brings everybody together. I think that’s very, very important.”