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Sun Valley and Pennell Elementary celebrate homecoming

Pennell pep rally

Pennell Elementary and Sun Valley High School spent the Thursday afternoon before Homecoming celebrating.  The event, planned by Kelsey Parker and Gabby Trofa, Pennell 3rd grade teachers, brought elementary and high school students together to celebrate the traditions surrounding Homecoming.

Pep rally Pennell


The Sun Valley High School Football team joined the cheerleaders, the marching band drumline, and even the Sun Valley mascot on the grounds of Pennell Elementary to share their excitement and enthusiasm for their schools and the district.  Pennell student members of the Aston Bandit football and cheerleading squads were included as well as Pennell's band members.    The Pennell choir sang the national anthem to begin the event.   Pennell Elementary Principal Josh Leight and Sun Valley Athletic Director Pat Rafferty pumped up the Pennell crowd and made sure to invite them to the Homecoming game!


Pennell students enjoyed the experience of a real high school pep rally complete with handmade signs, games, cheers, and a dramatic entrance by the teams on the field.  Principal Leight and Principal Patrick Sasse at Sun Valley recognized the opportunity to bring the older and younger students together to share a common interest.

Pep Rally Pennell

“It was a great opportunity for our student leaders to share in the excitement of homecoming with our future Vanguards," said Sasse. "It is so important that our students—districtwide—feel pride and a connection to their school and the surrounding community. "

Mr. Leight agreed. "Children start asking themselves, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” in elementary school. The willingness of the Sun Valley administration, staff, and students to spend time acting as role models for our Pennell students helps pave the way for their long-term success in academics, sports, and Aston community members. We are so proud of Pennell and Sun Valley!“

pep rally Pennell

This pep rally is just another example of how administrators and faculty in the district are developing more ways to bring older and younger students together.   Earlier this year during the Martin Luther King, Jr. observances, Sun Valley seniors fanned out to visit elementary students sharing projects, lunch, gym, and other opportunities to simply connect with one another.  

These opportunities also inspire young athletes and musicians to mingle with their older peers and enjoy the excitement generated by competitive sports at the high school level. Sun Valley Athletic Director Pat Rafferty appreciated the experience of sharing the day with the younger students.  

"It was a great day being able to celebrate homecoming week with the Pennell Penguins. Our football players, cheerleaders, and drum line really enjoyed seeing the excitement of the elementary kids and appreciate all of their support. What a cool experience for all of those involved."