Leaders of The Stangs


Senior rally chairs, Zain Shawwa (left) and Nick Struempf (right) are running down the stands to get the crowd excited for the rally. At the back to school rally, each student section competed to prove which class had the most school spirit.

Some of Monte Vista’s most spirited Stangs have made their leadership dreams come true.

Zain Shawwa and Nick Struempf have been aspiring rally chairs ever since their freshman year. 

     “For me I looked up to the old rally chairs and it was always something I wanted to do,” Shawwa said. “I thought I had the personality for it and I wanted to be a big role model on campus senior year.” 

     They always knew that this was a role they wanted to take together. 

     “We felt like we had good personalities to do it,” Struempf said. “Zain is the hype guy and I explain the games, so we thought we’d work well together.” 

     Although both were excited to take on their new role, they were not prepared for all the work that went into being a rally chair. They control various school events, so it’s up to them and the help of their rally committee to make their best ideas come alive. 

     “It’s probably a month-long process,” Struempf said. “The first week is brainstorming games and performances. [Then] we have to figure out who’s in them.”

     Despite being the rally chairs, Struempf and Shawwa do not get the final say of how the rally is organized since they have to pass their ideas on to a lot of other people. Organizing school events is not as simple as many would expect.  

    “We have to make a full script and present it to the administration,” Shawwa said. “We have to say where everyone is at all times like if they are on the fifty yard line or in the games. If there is going to be a tarp on the field, we have to put that all into a script. It takes a long time to get it approved by administration.” 

     Shawwa and Struempf have leadership students in their rally committee who help come up with ideas for spirit events.  

     “We do most of the planning,” Shawwa said. “But the rally committee has good ideas for what games we can do and they help a lot with planning the whole script.” 

     Rally chairs deal with many challenges, this year the main difficulty to overcome has been COVID. 

     COVID has put some restrictions on the way rallies are put on, particularly how they are able to hold their rallies.  

     “I would say there’s three things,” Struempf said. “COVID for one has been a real pain. Time is also an issue because last rally we didn’t get to finish the way we planned, and the third thing is safety to make sure nobody is put in harm’s way.” 

     A senior from Monte Vista High School, Arianna Barrera, expressed her feelings on the new rally conditions due to COVID-19.

      “I really enjoy the rallies,” Barrera said. “I miss being able to do them inside because I haven’t been able to experience that for awhile, but it’s really fun being able to enjoy the rallies with the whole school. I hope that I’ll be able to experience one rally inside before I graduate.”

     Similarly to Barrera, Streumpf has enjoyed outdoor rallies, but feels an indoor rally could be a better experience for students. 

     “Being on the field gave some advantages because the whole school being there at once is pretty cool but we think in the gym is a better environment because everyone is closer together,” Struempf said.

     Despite the challenges, the rally chairs love their role at school. 

     “The part I love most about it is being looked up to as a role model on campus and being someone that a freshman or sophomore want to be like when they are a senior,” Shawwa said. 

     Both rally chairs have been able to learn and gain so much confidence from this experience. They are proud to be leaders and inspiration to other students.

     “We didn’t know how hard it was going to be, but we love it,” Shawwa said.