FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A big part of the high school football season is school spirit, but some students at Southside High School in Fort Smith weren't happy with the level of spirit at their school.
Principal Lisa Miller was approached by student council president Madelene Riche with different ways the school could improve in cheering on the Mavericks.
"A lot of people would leave at halftime, which is fine, but it’s very discouraging to our players and a lot of people wouldn’t cheer or get really into it, but I feel like things have really turned around and it’s been a really great experience for our student body. People are into it, they are cheering and staying through the whole game. They are excited for what’s going to happen," Riche said.
The pep rallies used to be held in the school gym, but 400 students weren't able to attend because of space. Riche suggested they move the pep rallies outside so all of the students could join in on the fun. They also brought back class competitions. The different grade levels compete for a spirit trophy by wearing class colors, making signs and attending pep rallies.
"They’ve taken it and run with it. Our first pep rally was just amazing, it was wonderful," said Miller. "We’ve seen great attendance at the games so far, and the kids tell me that they are seeing a big increase in school spirit."
Riche also wanted to create a real-life mascot to lead the students. She asked senior Jack Kincannon if he would take on the task of becoming the school's first Marshall the Maverick.
The senior class is the first class to go all the way through Southside since they became the Mavericks. Kincannon said it's an honor to leave his legacy as the first Marshsall the Maverick.
"That’s our identity as a class, so it’s special to me to be the first one and to lead us into this new era at Southside," he said.
Marshall the Maverick will be in action Friday night at the Southside vs. Conway football game.