Community comes together for Pacer Fest


The Pacer Spirit Committee held its second event Monday night — Winter Pacer Fest — and cheered on students participating in winter sports.

The event, which took place inside the Hayes High School gym, was a pep rally for winter athletics and other clubs. During the event, various teams were introduced, the Hayes High School Pep Band entertained the crowd, and each team’s coach spoke about the team’s schedule and season.

Organizers said more than 1,000 people attended the event, which was the second of its kind after a similar pep rally for fall sports was held in August.

Brooke Brenner, a sixth grade teacher and one of the event’s organizers, said, “I personally think the event was incredible and full of Pacer pride! Winter Pacer Fest was a fantastic way to kick off the winter athletic season, and I believe we had something for all ages. My favorite part was the cheerleader dance with the winter athletes, and I also loved including the younger Pacers.”

Tracy Cinereski, choir/drama director at Hayes and another of the event’s organizers, added the event was “a huge success.”

“It was wonderful to see so many community members come out to support our students,” Cinereski said. “I particularly loved the involvement of our elementary kids. The pep band added so much life to the general feel of the event, and I loved the national anthem and Hayes Alma Mater performances given by the Hayes Singers. Shout out to our Hayes Players as well for entertaining the attendees as they visited the various booths set up in the commons.”

Cinereski added school spirit was “on point for this event.”

“I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the Pacer family,” she said. “I look forward to more events of this nature in the future. What a great way to kick off our Thanksgiving week!”

Hayes senior Cassie Klumpp, one of the committee’s founders, also considered the event to be huge success, adding she hopes the event strengthened bonds within the community.

“To me, I believe this event further unified and emphasized what being a Pacer is all about,” Klumpp said. “We had elementary Pacers there, future Pacers, past Pacers, and present Pacers collectively cheering and supporting one another. … To be able to have an event of this nature right before many of the athletes kick off their seasons is super empowering and uplifting!”

Klumpp said the event also provided a chance for families and younger students to see what they can get involved in at Dempsey Middle School and Hayes High School.

“For many families who are not yet involved in the middle or high school, it was a great opportunity for them to be able to see what their children have the opportunity to be a part of in the future, as well as create a greater sense of pride and involvement throughout our schools,” she said.

Klumpp added she appreciates the Hayes and district leadership for helping bring the event to life.

“We cannot thank the administration teams enough for being so supportive of this energizing and positive community event!” Klumpp said. “I would consider this a success for Pacer Nation!”

Brenner said she’s thankful for everyone who participated in Winter Pacer Fest.

“The Pacer Spirit Committee is extremely appreciative of the administrative team for supporting our vision, the coaches and parent reps for ensuring teams were present with booths, ROTC for presenting the colors, and our music department for providing entertainment,” she said. “In addition, this event was only successful because the Pacer community showed up to support our students and schools.”

Hayes High School Principal Ric Stranges said Tuesday he’s thankful to the committee for organizing the event.

“The Pacer community came together to celebrate the beginning of the winter season. It was a positive way to recognize and support our school community!” Stranges said. “Thank you to Cassie Klumpp and the committee for their time, talents and energy!”

Hayes High School Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp said Tuesday student-athletes were encouraged by the event.

“All athletes and coaches work so hard ,and I think this really gives them validation and support from the community,” Glesenkamp said. “It gives them validation that someone is paying attention and cares about them and supports them. It was a great team-building activity.”

Superintendent Heidi Kegley said she enjoyed seeing the community’s support for students and their teams.

“Pacer Fest was a wonderful celebration of our student-athletes and musicians, and an awesome way to kick off the winter sports season,” Kegley said. “It was great to see the positive energy and community support for our students. We are grateful to the Pacer Spirit Committee for partnering with the schools to organize the community event.”

The event’s organizers said their next goal is a similar pep rally next year for spring athletics. A date for that event has not yet been set.

Hayes High School boys basketball coach Adam Vincenzo introduces the team Monday during Winter Pacer Fest. High School boys basketball coach Adam Vincenzo introduces the team Monday during Winter Pacer Fest. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

Dempsey Middle School cheerleaders hold up signs in front of the crowd at Winter Pacer Fest on Monday. Middle School cheerleaders hold up signs in front of the crowd at Winter Pacer Fest on Monday. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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