Conway High School kicked off the new school year with a pep rally Friday at Wampus Cat Arena.

Joel Linn, principal at the east campus, said this is the second year the school has held a joint event between the East and West campuses. It serves "to start building school spirit and unity, to get the school year off to a positive start," he said.

The pep rally was sponsored by the school’s Renaissance Program, which rewards good grades and attendance.

"Our goal this year is to do many more activities to get East and West together, because we are one high school," Linn said. "We want these kids to know they are Wampus Cats together. We’re not two different schools, we are one high school, so we want to make sure the kids know that."

A.J. Spiridigliozzi, a drama teacher at the East campus, served as the emcee at the pep rally. The high school band played, cheerleaders and dance team performed, and teachers had a hand in the entertainment as well, spelling out C-A-T-S with pompoms. The Wampus Cat mascot was on hand, as well as runners waving giant game banners.

The Renaissance Program awarded prizes to several students, including savings bonds, MP3 players, a portable DVD player and a 26-inch flat screen television, for their accomplishments last year. A few teachers also received prizes such as golf lessons and massages.

Tim Cunningham, director of the 245-member high school band, said of the event, "It went real well. It was a good educational assembly on how to have spirit." He added the pep rally was a good way to get students involved.

Spiridigliozzi said of the pep rally, "I thought it went really well. The school worked so hard to make this happen. I think it says a lot about our faculty and administration that we’re all on the same page. I’m so proud of our students, too. If we didn’t have an incredible administration, none of this would have happened."

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at rachel.dickerson@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)