Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pep Squads at Governor Dummer Academy

Pep squads were an integral part of Governor Dummer academy (GDA) football seasons during the twentieth century. Photographs of organized GDA cheering squads appeared as early as 1940 in The Milestone yearbook, but a proliferation of pep squad images—both photographs and film—can be seen in the academy’s archival materials from the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1950s, a number of pep squad rallies, some with bonfires where opposing team dummies were burned in effigy, were captured in a series of emotionally charged photographs (show below).

Owing to GDA’s all-male status during this time, pep squads comprised boys selected from the student body. A cartoon that appeared in the October 27, 1951 Archon pokes fun at the boys-only nature of GDA’s cheerleaders, with boys lamenting their comparative inferiority to girls in attracting their counterparts’ attention.

Male pep squads were a mainstay of fall events through the 1960s (photo immediately following this paragraph), but the admission of female students to the GDA campus in 1971 changed the dynamic of the cheering squad from male to female, as shown in the last photograph, from 1973.