Fall captains speak to the increase of Hilltoper spirit.
Of the fall season this year, Courtney Banks ’20, and captain of field hockey, said, “I think our school is proud of our teams in a way that we haven’t been in the past. Hopkins is typically represented as a super academic place, so it’s nice to hear students talking about our athletic teams in a positive way.” Others noticed the same trend. Katherine Takoudes ’20, captain of varsity cross country, expressed her plea- sure with the school spirit this fall, saying, “I’m so happy with how much Hilltopper pride we’ve seen around campus this fall and I can only hope it continues for the rest of the year!” This change has been brought about mostly by the efforts of students, but was only possible with the approval of administration.
On November 2, Hopkins transported more than 40 kids who could not get a ride to the Metropolitan Independent Football League Championship at Brunswick to see the Hilltoppers face Long Island Lutheran. Assistant Head of School John Roberts “believe[s] the idea for a football fan bus to Greenwich came from students, and was warmly received by the Athletic Department. [Athletic Director] Rocco [Demaio] was looking for someone to chaperone the bus - I believe we had 40 plus kids altogether, the perfect number - it was up to me and Charlie Harris (from the kitchen crew!) to step up and get it done!” John Stanley ’21, a member of the Hopkins football team, remembered “the edge the fans gave” in the semifinal game, and as a result, was “excited about having a fan bus for the championship game.” He continued, “Although the end result wasn’t ideal, having the fans there cheering us on in our last game meant so much for everyone.”
Another student initiative strongly supported by the administration has been the Hopkins Fan Club, who, in the words of Banks, “attempts to spread school spirit by getting fans to come out and support our teams. The goal is to get Hopkins students to be proud of our school and our athletes.” Fan Club was started Griffin Smith ’15 but this year is led by Phil Delise ’20, Jack Potash ’20, Courtney Banks ’20, and Julianna Loricco ’20. This fall, during volleyball’s historic FAA championship and NEPSAC Class A finalist run, Fan Club used Instagram and other social media platforms to organize crazy themes for some of the home matches. This support did not go unnoticed; Geneva Cunningham ’21, a volleyball player, said, “Fan Club is the best. Seriously, we would not have been able to reach as many people, or get them as hyped up as they were. I also think that since everyone is always on social media, promoting games and events there is the best way to go.” Roberts also thinks that Fan Club has a positive impact: “It has always been my hope that the Fan Club can spread the love to every team and throughout all three sports seasons.
Takoudes, who is also the Student Council President this year, organized the all-school assembly at which the Female Football game was played. Her idea to have a block of time carved out of everyone’s schedule to watch the game initially began in the summer, but needed the approval of schedulers and administration first: “I first approached Mr. Roberts with the idea of the Female Football game in assembly during the summer, and he told me to get approval from the junior and senior Class Presidents and Head Advisers before coming back to him. Once everyone was on board, we went to [Elaine] Plante to talk about the feasibility of the special schedule and had Mr. Hart draft a reverse hour-delay schedule.” This idea was inspired by other students too: “After last year’s Female Football game, a few juniors approached me about switching things up for this year’s game; we wanted to make the game more legitimate so that the Female Football game could become a coveted and fun tradition at Hop.” Takoudes believe her plan ultimately worked:. “In my opin- ion, any school event or game in which the whole Hopkins community comes together boosts school spirit. We had so many students and teachers involved from players and coaches to refs and announcers, and it was exciting to see how many people were so passionate about the game.”
Collin Gernhardt ’20, one of the Boys Basketball captains, is optimistic about support this winter season: “This year, we hope to get more people to come out to our home games and bring the school spirit.” Roberts also hopes to ride the spirit momentum into the winter season, saying, “This winter, we are going to be in desperate need of some fun during the doldrums of January and February. Let’s get together for all the teams, any big game, and generate lots of opportunities to cheer on our friends and scream ‘yeah, Hop!’”