The End of a Tradition

Some students are upset as RLHS called off the halftime show for the annual powderpuff football game.


Kate Herrera

Daniel Guzman, Sebastian Rodriguez, and Jimmy Ocampo will participate in the homecoming powderpuff halftime this year, but will not be dressing up as female cheerleaders.

Cindy Patino and Kate Herrera

“I’m very mad. It’s like having a game with no marching band, no cheerleaders. It’s going to be boring,” said Round Lake High School Senior Leonardo Leon. Leon is upset at the new decision to cut the powderpuff cheerleaders this year.

In years past, male students would dress up as female cheerleaders at the annual powderpuff football game during homecoming week. Students often went with an overly exaggerated look, stuffing their t-shirts and wearing brightly-colored wigs, which student council sponsor Mrs. Danielle Navarro, who teaches Spanish, says is not right. “It mocks a lifestyle choice of somebody, especially people in our school,” she said. “We need to be respectful of our students.”

The LGBTQ+ population is growing at RLHS and therefore Navarro said, “We need to look out for the interest of the students before we offend anyone. The point is to avoid offending.” By taking off powderpuff cheerleaders, it demonstrates the school is accepting of everyone.

At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, student council reevaluated the decision of whether male students should continue dressing up as female cheerleaders, and decided that the tradition would be nixed for RLHS’s 2018 homecoming. Right now, RLHS is the only school in the area to stop this tradition of 11+ years. Student council sponsor Mrs. Tracy Balla, a social studies teacher, said, “We don’t want to be the school that gets written up in the paper for offending and being prejudiced against groups of people. We would rather be ahead of it and we rather be leading the way in good behavior.”

Some students, like Leon, do not see the harm. “It’s something we have done for a while, it is funny and it’s something people do to make others smile and laugh,” he said, even noting that by getting rid of the cheerleaders, it might be taking away a chance for some students to express themselves without consequence. “Powderpuff is the best thing ever, mostly for those who would express themselves on that day without being made fun of.”

Senior Ambar Marquez believes that the halftime show may offend some people, but that was never the intentions of having the cheerleaders dance. “I also see the other side who are just [people] having fun, not trying to offend anybody. We’re not bullying anybody or forcing anybody to watch it or forcing anybody to participate in it,” Marquez said. She then explained how she is in student council and the issues they had trying to find another halftime event: “People really like that segment in the game and they really just go for [the cheerleaders]. They love seeing that type of stuff, so now we have to find something else others may be interested in for halftime.”

In keeping with homecoming week’s Hawaiian luau theme, student council hired fire dancers to perform after both the powderpuff games.

While many students may be disappointed by the changes, student council believes that it will still be possible to attend the powderpuff game and be totally entertained. It’s also important to see that RLHS keeps students at the heart of every decision. The school is a democratic school, said Mrs. Sarah Schaefer, a counselor at RLHS. “We want everyone to know that we are a welcoming to all people regardless of what they identify as… we’re in the 21st century we should be accepting of all people,” she said.

The powderpuff game will take place Wednesday, October 3. The freshmen vs. sophomore game starts at 4:00 p.m. and the juniors vs. seniors game starts at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $5.