What’s black and white and (sometimes) pink all over?
It’s the Westside cheering section, whose antics and volume has gotten it almost as much media attention as the boys and girls basketball teams.
Wyoming County schools have long had loud and boistrous cheering sections, but this year’s contingent at WHS has moved up to new levels of creativity and craziness.
“I’ve been so proud of both my teams and the cheering section,” said Westside High Principal Deborah Marsh. “We really have an amazing bunch of students.”
The cheering section has had White Outs, Black Outs, and Neon Outs, the latter involving dressing in colors normally found in a popsicle box.
Among its specialities are sleeping through the opposing team’s player introductions, waving towels, coordinated movements and unusual cheers.
The section shouted “global warming” at the Polar Bears of Fairmont Senior in last Friday night’s state semfinals of the girls basketball tournament.
You’re also likely to see people dressed as gingerbread men, the Cat in the Hat, a Crayola crayon and Kermit the Frog. But it doesn’t just happen.
“Students have given up their lunch time to work on the cheers and discuss ideas,” Marsh said.
Christy Plumley, a teacher at Westside, has been one of the organizers.
“Our philosophy is from tip off to trophy,” she commented. “We cheer from beginning to end. And we stay positive. We cheer for our team, and we don’t say negative things about the other team.”
Marsh says the enthusiasm has carried over to WHS faculty and staff, who want to know what colors to wear and have decorated all over the school to show their support for the Renegades.
“We have people calling from the grade schools wanting to know what the theme is for the next day,” she remarked.
“I feel like kids in a small town need to have somethng to be excited about,” Plumley remarked. “It’s been such a positive thing for our school.”
She says students have been integral, with Levi Lambert, Breyer Morgan, Anna Davis, Mike Mullens and Chase Stafford among the leaders.
Morgan broke his arm early in basketball season and now dons everything from pink shorts to the orange crayon suit to help get the cheering section fired up.
“We meet about 30 minutes a day and talk about what we’re going to do,” he stated. “It’s been a lot of fun.
“I love every second of it,” he added.
The cheering section won the school spirit award at the girls tournament on Saturday.
And they aren’t done yet. They’ll be back in Charleston this week to root for the boys.
“It’s been a good thing for the whole community,” Marsh remarked.