Inside the RMHS Student Section


Student fill the student section at a football game this fall.

Thomas Merkle ('23), Orbit Contributor

“Let’s go Rockets! Clap-Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap,” the sea of red students chant as they cheer for Reading. The visiting team instantly knows they are in for a long night.

The school’s sports events are some of the most notable occasions at RMHS. It is one of the only places where the student body puts away any differences they may have with each other and stands shoulder to shoulder to band together for one common thing – the hope of a Rockets victory.

Groups of Reading Memorial High students gather at Burbank Ice Arena, shivering in line to get into the 7:00 pm RMHS hockey game. The line slowly creeps up to the entrance, where each student is more than happy to pay the $5 fee for their ticket so that they can root for their beloved Rockets. Once inside, the students give their tickets to the man guarding the arena. The student section slowly builds in the bleachers as the start of the game draws nearer. There is a hierarchy in the bleachers, with the upperclassman at the top and the underclassman down at the bottom. At 6:55, the visiting team skates onto the ice, showered with boos from the crowd. About fifteen seconds later, the student section roars as the Rocket hockey players open the door and skate onto the ice. At 7:00, the ritual playing of the Star Spangled Banner begins.

In total, roughly 300 Rockets fans are in the crowd. “Being part of the student section is great because you get to bond with students you otherwise wouldn’t feel the need to. I often find myself in conversations with people I’ve never met before, and it is a great way to make new friends and meet new people. I love going to the games to support my classmates that are playing and it is something I always look forward to,” explained RMHS senior Jonathan Nazzaro.

According to an article on ESPN, “The first known student section gathered…on Nov. 6, 1869, in New Brunswick, N.J., to watch Princeton play Rutgers in the first college football game. Half the crowd of 100 was Rutgers students, who set themselves apart from the citizenry by wearing scarlet scarves wrapped around their heads like turbans.” Since then, student sections have gotten so popular around the nation that some students even choose their college based on the prominence of their sports teams and the student body’s school spirit at games. When you look up “Student section” on the internet, you get many results such as “40+ Creative Student Section Themes”, “Ranking the Top 50 College Football Student Sections”, “95 Student Section Ideas,” and so much more.

Although many student sections are out there, the one at Reading Memorial High School is unique. One great thing about the RMHS student section is how organized it is. Every year, there are captains for the student section – always seniors. The captain’s roles include leading the chants, choosing the theme, deciding which games to go to, and managing the student section’s Instagram account. As a result, the cheers and chants are orchestrated and fluid. Chants you will hear at almost every game include “Let’s Go Rockets” and “01867”. However, they are not always kid-friendly. When the tensions get high, the chants and comments can become inappropriate. However, that’s why Reading’s athletic director, Mr. Zaya, is there. He stands in front of the student section for every home game to keep everything in check. When things get out of hand, he goes up to the top row (where the seniors are) and tells the captains to settle the section down. Before every game, the RMHS Instagram account “rmhsstudentsection” posts all the essential information, including the opponent, location, time, and theme. The post ensures that all the students are on the same page before the game starts.

The thing I love most about it is that it’s truly student-led.

— Mrs. Hopkinson

Another great thing about the RMHS student section is that students lead it. Not only are the captains students, but students also maintain the student section Instagram account. There are never any athletic directors telling the students what to wear and where to go. Instead, the students do this. Every year, Reading’s upperclassmen leave the legacy behind by showing the rest of the students how to lead. Seniors will walk down to the front of the bleachers where they encourage the freshmen to chant and get involved. These seniors never pull rank on the freshmen but instead encourage them to be part of the night’s energy. In fact, it is a tradition at these Reading events for the seniors to show the underclassmen “how it’s done.” Reading High School students have a growth mindset when it comes to their school spirit.

The RMHS football and hockey games have always had a big crowd of student supporters. Still, more recently, the student section has cheered on many other sports, such as basketball, cheer, volleyball, field hockey, and soccer. “I really appreciated it when we were in the state tournament game for volleyball and we had such a great turnout for the kids and it just meant so much for us,” says RMHS volleyball coach Mrs. Hopkinson. “The thing I love most about it is that it’s truly student-led. I love how the seniors take a role in having everyone attend and getting everyone involved.” 

The RMHS student section is not only a great community, but it also encourages and emboldens Reading’s athletic teams with its school spirit and energy. Having the student section is fun for the students, and it is also beneficial for the players. The section’s cheering can especially help when the players face a challenge and need a boost, such as when a Reading team is losing or facing a big rival. Cheering can often help players overcome their nerves and boost their adrenaline. 

Although many things will continue to change over the years at Reading Memorial High school, one thing that will always stay the same is the students’ love and support for their sports teams.