Cutoff on Powderpuff: Powderpuff faces new safety regulations and rules regarding performance content

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Ryan Latterell

Senior Ike Evans '19 does a backflip with the help of Will Magargee '19 and Brett Lamoriello '19 as a part of the Senior Powderpuff dance. Upon sticking the landing, Evans was showered with cheers from the Senior class.

Amy Qiao, Staff Writer

  While cowboy hats are flung into the air and plaid skirts are flounced around the RAC, the audience goes wild as the lights dim down. In the midst of all the chaos, students jam out to the latest hits of Big Time Rush and Beyoncé while the Powderpuff boys are also tossed 15 feet in the air. However, in order to produce such a performance, the juniors and seniors must go through multiple approvals to get their routine finalized.

  When Homecoming week rolls around, there is one thing most Trinity students look forward to every year: the boys’ Powderpuff cheer routines. This tradition has lasted for more than 40 years at Trinity and is eagerly anticipated by students each year. However, this year, the administrators have set new guidelines regarding safety, and have made students fill out a waiver with their parents consent.

  “We want to make sure the parents are in the loop that the student is doing something physical,” Upper School Principal, Patrick Mulloy, said. “We are going to make sure that every kid who is on the roster gets their parents to sign.”

  For the past couple years, Rylan Smith, the Varsity Girls Cheerleading Coach, has ensured that there is always a supervisor employed by Trinity present at all times during cheer practices. Certified in cheer safety, Smith and eight other cheerleaders teach the participants proper techniques for tumbling and stunting.  

  Songs, costumes and dance moves are a huge part of the Boys’ Powderpuff Routines. However, some students believe that some of these aspects are slightly inappropriate.

  “It is a little inappropriate. When I was in sixth grade [and watched the routine], I was shocked.” freshman Grace Yip said.

To ensure routines aren’t inappropriate, the boys’ Powderpuff cheer routine must gain permission from administrators before being performed at the pep rally.

  Mulloy must also review all songs used in the performance and has said that the songs must not have explicit words or inappropriate messages. All routines are overseen by Assistant Headmaster Dennis Herron, Middle School Principal Jason Dowdy and Mulloy prior to the pep rally to ensure clothes or dances are not perceived as inappropriate.

   “Over the years, I think we made sure that the routines aren’t over the top,” Mulloy said. “There is a gray line where you can build camaraderie and have a good time while not being inappropriate.”

  Smith also confirms with Dowdy that the routines are verified as appropriate for the middle schoolers.

  “I try to remind them that parents are watching, and there are going to be videos,” Smith said. “You want this to be a good representation of who you are 10-15 years from now.”

  Trinity’s librarian, Reba Gordon, believes that the songs and clothing choices used in Powderpuff routines are already incorporated in our culture and media. Therefore, the routines don’t include inappropriate content that students aren’t already exposed to.

  “There is nothing that I have seen in the past three years [in Powderpuff Routines] that is in anyway more risque than anything I have seen on TV.” Gordon said.

  Although this tradition has its restrictions, Mulloy believes that Powderpuff is still able to provide a strong connection between the various grades at Trinity.

  “There are good and healthy ways for traditions,” Mulloy said. “Ways where we blow off steam, find a way to laugh at ourselves, laugh together and build real intense school spirit, anything from the tug-of-war pull to Powderpuff dance routines and games.”

  Seventh grader, Mohil Kapadia, loves the ongoing tradition and its inclusiveness.

  “I think they are funny, and it includes everyone. It shows that no matter what gender you are, you can do it.” said Kapadia.

  After weeks of Powderpuff training, participants also realize the hard work cheerleaders and football players put into their sports.

  Student Body President and senior Eli Finkelstein said. “It was nice to work on a routine. I didn’t really appreciate the work cheerleaders have done on campus until I did Powderpuff. I had this eye-opening realization that cheerleaders do all these amazing things, and it’s not easy to put routines together.”

  This year, Homecoming fell on an important week for many seniors because many early decisions for top colleges were due. However, Powderpuff enables students to take a step back from the academic side of school and enjoy a moment of bonding together.

  “If for one pep rally we can do something that is simple and fun and goofy that has nothing to do with your resume or transcript, that is something every great school community should have,” Mulloy said.