Seniors on the sidelines

Class of 2021 should be allowed to have a student section at football games


Photo courtesy of Millard West Activities Twitter

Millard West’s student section always shows up ready to support. As shown above, the stands are always filled completely from top to bottom with students all decked out in the game’s theme. Without the energy of the student section and cheerleaders together, the games are not the same. The whole experience of football games comes from the atmosphere and the liveliness of the crowd.

Paige Fortney, Staff Reporter

As we all head back to school, it’s clear to see that nothing is as it used to be. Nothing we do at school is normal and precautions are put in place for almost everything it seems. Masks now cover friendly faces and hand sanitizer is found at just about every corner. For the senior class of 2021, it is quite an unfortunate year. 

These seniors are not only missing out on a normal senior experience, but also on many of their “lasts” and traditions that students look forward to for their final year of high school. The iconic Back to School Dance and the junior girls’ Senior Takeover are just two of them. One of the most thrilling ones being the chance to finally stand in the front rows of football games, leading the boisterous student section of Millard West and getting to tease the underclassmen that we once used to be. 

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and safety precautions put into place by Millard School Board members, we are no longer allowed to have our supportive, rambunctious student section. 

Two weeks ago, Millard West sent out an email to families regarding the new gameday protocols. This email included information about the new ticket passes, mask requirements, concessions, media/streaming and more in regards to how the new Friday night lights would look. 

According to KETV 7, Superintendent Dr. Jim Sutfin stated “Above everything my loyalty and my allegiance is to our students. It’s to our student athletes who have worked really hard all summer and now they have an opportunity to play.” 

Many students, myself included, were very upset and disappointed with this news once we were informed. A major part of high school includes the sports and game nights that students spend together, and now that is being taken away from us, especially for us seniors. Never getting the chance to attend a football game this year and cheer on our friends and classmates is a big let down. 

Personally, I believe that the senior class should be allowed to attend and form their own student section, with masks and social distancing of course. Each band student, football player, cheerleader and dancer is allowed four tickets. I find it infuriating that they are all allowed to hand out tickets, but the students of the school aren’t even allowed to attend. With school now going back at 100%, I see no problem with having a senior student section. At school we are inside, but at games we are standing outside with masks and social distancing. Those are some of the safest precautions put into place. 

According to, countries that had government policies favoring mask-wearing had lower death rates across it. CNBC stated that, “Experiments by a team in Hong Kong found that the coronavirus’ transmission rate via respiratory droplets or airborne particles dropped by as much as 75% when surgical masks were used.” 

 While students may not be allowed to attend the games, that doesn’t stop them from getting together outside of the game to watch it. Students and friends want to watch and interact together during the games to make it feel as normal as possible. If students are going to be together no matter what, it feels like dropping a student section is defeating the whole purpose. 

Seniors have already lost “senior privileges” for themselves, such as leaving for lunch. This year, juniors are also permitted to leave campus for lunch with parent permission. This leaves us with nothing special as seniors. It’s likely we will be losing even more of our lasts, too. If we can lose privileges, we should be able to gain them just as easily.  

According to the Millard West gameday protocols set in place at the moment, masks are required for all events. Obviously, that would still be in place if a senior section was allowed, along with some social distancing between us all. Fans are also asked to not arrive at the gate before it opens and to exit the facilities immediately after the event and avoid gathering. That can all still apply, with the seniors arriving just as the game starts and leaving right after it ends. 

We are not the only high school without a senior section and we are not the only ones fighting for one either. Some students at Gretna High School started a petition in favor of having a student section that requires masks. Similarly, senior Jenna Reynolds started a petition for our own Millard district to have one as well. It already has over 650 signatures and is still counting. As students, our voices and opinions do deserve to be considered. 

While some may not agree with the approval of a senior student section, I know it would be a big turn around for all of us seniors for our final year. We want as much time possible to be spent together as class of 2021 before we all head our separate ways, and football is something we all look forward to every week. Senior year is supposed to be one of the best years of high school, so let’s try to make this one to remember, in a positive, non-covid way of course.