Guard Champs in Need of a Gym

The Round Lake High School Winter Guard teams have a right to an RLHS gym.


Ryan Dormody

Ashley Schenk is full of excitement as she performs one of the Varsity Winter Guard shows. Schenk and her teammates hope to gain access to one of the high school’s three gyms for their weekly practices.

Mya Figueroa , Staff Writer

The Round Lake High School Winter Guard teams (varsity and junior varsity) continue the battle of getting to practice at the high school rather than practicing  in the hazardous small Round Lake Middle School gym and their voices should be heard.

With the winter season kicking into gear, the RLHS Winter Guard teams are currently struggling to find a gym to host their practices. Despite the addition of the third gym to RLHS, the Winter Guard teams currently host their practices at Round Lake Middle School on Wednesdays from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (varsity) and Thursdays from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (junior varsity). While administration believes the current location for hosting Winter Guard practices is practical, the team, as well as other students, disagree. “Having practices at Round Lake Middle School is a safety hazard.” said Sophomore Hannah Jewitt, a member of the varsity Winter Guard team.

In comparison to any of the RLHS gyms, the gym at Round Lake Middle School is much smaller. In Winter Guard, the teams perform on a tarp rather than a bare gym floor. The tarp is large in size which makes it difficult to transport the tarp along with the other guard equipment as well. The tarp is so big that the guard teams can’t even open it all the way because it is too large to fit in Round Lake Middle School’s tiny gym. “Practicing in a smaller gym makes it hard to work on movement for our show,” said Larissa Eaker, a member of the JV team. “Using six-foot poles in a small environment can hurt not only the person using the flag but the people around them.”

The guard teams have brought great pride to RLHS with their award winning shows, especially the RLHS varsity team. The varsity team won first place at the Midwest Championship last year, yet they still struggle to obtain a gym to practice in. “They’re one of the best teams at our school, yet, they don’t get any recognition,” said Sophomore, John Brown. “They’re literally competing in Nationals this year and it doesn’t seem like anyone really cares enough to support them.” According to administration, the issue doesn’t fall under the amount of support the guard teams receive, but rather the fact that many of the winter teams at RLHS often have competing schedules.

The main argument against the guard teams getting to use one of the gyms is that other teams need the gyms as well. While this is true, there are compromises that can be made if the school is willing to listen. “Since the guard practices already take place at night time after most sports finish up their practices, we would be willing to wait till the other sports teams are finished with their practices in order to start ours, if it means getting to practice in one of RLHS gyms.” said Senior, Ashley Schenk, a member of the varsity team.  

Recently, the guard team made a petition to help them gain attention in getting a gym at the high school. Many students took part in signing and spreading the petition around.  Much to the dismay of the guard teams, they were asked that their petition be removed by administration. While the guard teams might not be getting to use one of the RLHS gyms anytime soon, there are people who stand by them. “They’re not asking for much. They’re a team that wins nonstop. It wouldn’t hurt to let them practice in a gym. It’s not like they’re disrespecting the school.” said Liliana Hernandez, a sophomore at RLHS.

Having to host team practices at different schools should not be a problem any team at RLHS should have to face, especially when a multimillion-dollar referendum has been passed in order to expand the school. While the hope to obtain a gym for the guard teams dwindle, it is important that students give both teams support as the season goes on. Hopefully the injuries they gain from practicing at the Round Lake Middle School gym won’t keep them from competing to the best of their abilities. Good luck to both teams.