Junction City Elementary's "Pep Rally for Academics" is seen as a positive antidote to the negative stigma of the testing maintained by students.
The students were provided with a barrage of entertainment designed to generate pep for what would typically be described as mundane. Activities included performances by the Junction City Elementary cheerleaders, rallying speeches by teachers and faculty, and an address by guest speaker Mary Jo Perino, sports anchor for WLEX-18 in Lexington.
Just like the many athletes Perino covers, she spent the moments before the rally developing her game plan.
"The important thing, really, is to just get them fired up. I just want to encourage them. While it is important that these gifted students know that CATS testing is not the 'be all, end all,' they should enjoy it and try to do well."
Testing compared to sporting event
In her speech to the students, Perino likened the upcoming testing to a subject most of the kids could relate to: University of Kentucky basketball.
"The first half of their season was a bit troubled, as I'm sure you can remember," said Perino, describing the problem-addled first games of the Wildcats' season. "But when they worked together and believed in what their coach told them, things turned around and they did really well. That's what you all need to do. You need to work together and be there for each other, while also listening to your 'coaches.' I'm sure you all will come back Monday and do phenomenal."
Perino wasn't the only celebrity there to encourage the students.
The kids also were treated to an unannounced visit from none other than The Cat in the Hat, fitting, of course, for their upcoming CATS testing.
Superintendent Steve Burkich was on hand for the celebration and was impressed and encouraged by what was going on, while he also stated the importance of the upcoming tests.
"Obviously, they're very important to the state and to the district," Burkich explained. "It's how the schools are judged and we want to make sure that we're doing the best that we possibly can.
"But the important thing these students need to remember is that they don't need to be stressed out. They just need to show what they've been doing all year, not just in the days of preparation before the actual tests," Burkich continued.
"They need to just have fun, and celebrations like this remind the kids that school really can be fun."