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Redwood Bark

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Student-led spirit group ‘The Woods’ encourages attendance at less-appreciated sporting events

On Feb. 13, The Woods emerged as a student-led group to promote school spirit and unify the student body. Its objective is to raise attendance at sporting events that traditionally don’t attract large crowds. 

Redwood is known across Marin County for its consistent school spirit. Students have created viral lip dub videos on YouTube, frequent Redwood-themed festivities (Redfest, Red Days, etc.) and sold-out game nights. However, the original committee members of The Woods noticed a lack of attendance at less popular events and wanted to utilize students’ energy to support all of Redwood’s athletes. Junior Katelyn Van Dusen is one of the founders of The Woods, as well as a leadership student and member of the golf team.

“We wanted to create a way for students who are already really engaged in [Redwood] sports to showcase their spirit and help [attract] other students,” Van Dusen said.

Now open for recruitment, The Woods is open to all grade levels with junior and senior priority. The leadership class of 2024 promoted the group by sending an informational email on Feb. 13 to Redwood students with a Google Form application. Urging their peers to submit, leadership students describe the group’s purpose as not only to channel school spirit but also to make it grow further.

Decorated in customized apparel, members of The Woods flaunt their vibrant red t-shirts.

The Google Form asks two questions: “Why would you be a good member of The Woods?” and “How many sports games do you attend on average per semester?” 

“We are still putting together the group that will form The Woods,” Van Dusen said. “Applications are still coming in.” 

Van Dusen looks forward to expanding participation in The Woods as students continue to submit. With her experience on the golf team, Van Dusen explains her perspective on the lack of support for smaller sports such as golf and how The Woods plans to combat that shortfall.

“We’ve noticed that sports like golf, tennis and even field hockey have very low [student viewership] in comparison to [sports such as] varsity basketball and football,” Van Dusen said. “A solid group of at least 15 will be going to at least one event per sport this semester.”

Additionally, Van Dusen points out the lack of attendance at female sports games as a whole and how The Woods will recognize their games over the course of the spring semester.

The Woods promotes their group via an infographic posted on each class’s Instagram. (Photo courtesy of Lily Skinner)

“[Events] will include the end of the winter sports and then all the way through the spring sports,” Van Dusen said. “Every single one—both boys and girls.”

Sophomore Hayden Schepps, an athlete on the wrestling team, experienced support and a busy student section at Redwood’s first-ever wrestling Game Night, which The Woods helped facilitate. Schepps appreciated the turnout, which greatly contrasted with the usual number of attendees at wrestling games. 

“Game Night’s [crowd] was way bigger than usual. There were around 50 people. Usually, [the crowd is] around 10 to 15,” Schepps said. “My coaches have told me in previous years that it was hard to even get wrestlers’ parents to come. So, it meant a lot.”

Schepps even said the crowd’s positive feedback impacted his wrestling performance, as he won his match. 

“When the energy is up in the crowd, the energy is up on the mat, too,” Schepps said. “So, it really just makes everything more exciting.”

Schepps is also the sophomore class president and emphasizes the importance of a present and cheerful student body and how it positively influences the athletes. 

“I really hope people continue to come to [less supported] games. It would be awesome,” Schepps said. “I want to try and get more people to enjoy the sport of wrestling like I do.”

The Woods will ideally consist of a new group of students each semester. If you are interested in joining The Woods spirit group, you can submit your application for the 2024 spring semester here: The Woods Application.

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About the Contributor
Madison Bishop
Madison Bishop is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism Arts and Media program. She enjoys listening to music, dancing and spending time with loved ones.