"We asked for kids to sign up. We took the first sixty from each class," Pankowski said.
"I had sixty seventh graders signed up in the first ten minutes," said teacher/mentor Krista McMillian. "It took about two days for the eighth graders."
The event was held in the school's outdoor amphitheater. The tug-of-war participants were divided into of 20 each, three teams for each grade. They faced each other, holding the rope tightly as they eyed their opponents.
Rosemont teachers and staff volunteered to be mentors of the spirit teams. Each was positioned next to his or her team. Those who were not part of the team were in the bleachers, ready to scream their support. As the two teams faced off, the crowd began to cheer.
"Seventh grade rules, " said the seventh graders.
"Go eighth grade, " countered the eighth graders.
"Go!" yelled Pankowski.
The entire amphitheater erupted in deafening screams and cheers. The eighth graders dug in their heels and pulled with all their might. The seventh graders began to move closer to the middle and the dreaded center line that, once crossed, would give them a loss. Then the seventh graders, in defiance of gravity, leaned back, took a collective deep breath and pulled. The seventh graders won that round.
Each of the teams took a turn at the rope. One team of eighth graders won a round but in the end it was the seventh graders, who scored more points and claimed the overall victory.
By the look on the faces of the students, the Spirit Day did exactly what it was intended to do, boost school spirit. In addition to yelling and cheering for their class, ASB offers T-shirts for both grades at $10 each. They are encouraged to wear the shirts during the competition in a sign of support for their grade.
"Next month there will be something different," Pankowski said. The competition may not be tug-of-war, but chances are the spirit will be just as loud and even stronger.