Adjoa Mante and Jessica Herrmann
Staff Writer and Guest Writer
If you haven’t yet heard of Harriton’s new school spirit group, “The Herd,” then you must have either been absent from classes or living under a rock. There have been informational papers handed out in Advisory and students selling t-shirts outside of the cafeteria all in support of the recently established group. However, response to the Herd has not been entirely positive. Lower Merion’s school spirit group, dubbed the “Dawg Pound” by its members, has been very vocal about their opinion of the creation of The Herd. In a local news article published on NBCPhiladelphia.com, LM students have been quoted asserting such ideas as “LM prides itself on our school spirit and now our rivals are trying to have the same school spirit? It just makes no sense,” and “all of Harriton’s attempts at trying to outdo LM will fail.” How is Harriton responding to these comments? To discover this, as well as other information, we interviewed Mr. Rappaport, faculty advisor for the Herd.
Q: How was the idea for the Herd formed?
Mr. Rappaport: One day we were asked to brainstorm in Advisory about ideas for school spirit and people in my advisory took it very seriously… one of the ideas that came out of it was the idea for the herd, not affiliated with student council…a grass roots school spirit group.
Q: How long has the herd existed for?
Mr. Rappaport: The beginning of this year.
Q: So far, do you think the Herd has been successful in achieving its goal of creating school spirit?
Mr. Rappaport: We won’t know yet until the basketball seasons and wrestling seasons, depending if people come to the games…I’m told all of these kids have a group on Facebook.
Q: What are some of the future goals for the Herd?
Mr. Rappaport: I think the future and the present goals are the same. The Herd is meant to be a student body fan group… at the games. Most high schools have this. There was the “Blue Crew” at Penn State and Plymouth Whitemarsh, the home of the original dog pound (since the ‘80s).
Q: How have students been involved in organizing the Herd?
Mr. Rappaport: Teddy Ross, Dan Posner and Nicole Sutliff should get the real credit. They really just needed a faculty advisor. I said I would be happy to help these kids. Their ‘industrial spirit’ was refreshing to see. Also, the money for the t-shirts goes to charity.
Q: What is your opinion of some LM students’ annoyance at the Herd’s creation (since they feel they were copied)?
Mr. Rappaport: It’s bewildering. There have been student groups long before the “Dawg Pound.” We didn’t realize that there is a monopoly on school spirit. I could have sworn we were number one in Philly magazine. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. We are trying to think of ways to improve, to stay number one. It’s not a basketball issue, it’s for all the sports. We wanted a student group to support all activities. Why aren’t we allowed to have a group?
Q: Why would you encourage students to join the Herd?
Mr. Rappaport: Here is a chance to be a part of something bigger than just yourself. Also a chance to reciprocate the support you’ve been given. They go to your game, you can go to their wrestling match. The biggest reason of all: it’s fun. Safe, clean, good old-fashioned fun.
Q: Is it too late to join?
Mr. Rappaport: The t-shirts have already been ordered, but the herd isn’t just [about] the t-shirt, it’s the phenomenon. It’s never too late to join. If there’s enough interest, we will have another order of t-shirts.
In conclusion, the newly formed Herd is a great way to support and spend time with your friends and to show your school spirit. The Herd will be attending many sports games together, as well as participating in numerous activities throughout the year. Don’t let Lower Merion students discourage you from joining and having a fantastic time. This is one experience that you don’t want to miss!