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Behind the Beaver Brigade

The story behind the spirit of the school

Kylie Williams, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 27, 2017

Beavers cheering on the football team with a white out at Bishop Blanchet. (Julian Whitworth)

Beavers cheering on the football team with a white out at Bishop Blanchet. (Julian Whitworth)

If you’ve ever been to a football or basketball game, you know what the Beaver Brigade is. They’re the roar of students who will never quiet down. They lead the school in spirit, as well as in the chants of “we can’t hear you.”

“As I say all the time, high school is about getting involved in stuff, getting engaged in your education. The more involved in things you, are the more fun it is,” Principal, Keven Wynkoop said.

What better way to get involved than to go to your school’s football game with your peers?  

“I see it as my job to get everyone excited about the games,” senior Thomas Helean said.

The Brigade isn’t just a group of ten senior and junior boys, such as most students think, they’re the people who work to get everyone excited to support our teams.

“They lead the student section, from the student section,” Junior Cheerleading Captain Ellie Ingraham said. “They get everyone hyped up.”

The Brigade has all sorts of methods for getting people involved and into school spirit.

“If Blanchet’s doing a blackout, we want to do a whiteout, just to really contrast whatever they’re doing,” Helean said.

You’ve probably also seen the cutouts they bring, such as the one of media sensation, Lavar Ball.

“He’s kinda just made himself into a meme on the internet,” Helean said on why they choose to bring him to the games.

You might have also seen the cutout of Mariner’s baseball player, Ben Gamel.

“We just love Ben Gamel. Ben Gamel’s probably my dad. He’s my favorite baseball player and we just like having him out there,” Helean said.

Many of the members of the Brigade play baseball, which is one of the sports they want to call more attention to, instead of having just football and basketball be the two sports fans are interested in.

“We’re trying to make it a goal of the Brigade to go to every kind of sporting event,” said Helean. “We’re trying to spread the love.”

Even with their good intentions, the Brigade can get a lot of criticism from opposing schools and parents about being inappropriate.

“If it’s a really low level thing I’m fine making a correction multiple times,” Wynkoop said. “One of the things that we want them not to do is to yell at or do stuff directed towards the other team. It’s you root for our team, you don’t root against the other team.”

That being said, nothing has ever happened to warrant any long term consequences.

“I think that the handful of students that are the current organizers and the most enthusiastic members of the Brigade are really positive, in that they’ve cooperated with us and they listen to our feedback,” Wynkoop said. “They just need people that are positive examples of being enthusiastic and supporting our school to lead things that get people excited.”

The Brigade is a group of kids, just like the teams they watch play. Many of them are student-athletes as well.

“We try not to make things personal, to other players or schools,” Helean said.

Students all think they know who the Brigade is. They see the kids in the front row, with the signs and cutouts, jumping around, screaming and yelling, but they’re just a small part of the big picture.

“Whether you’re in the top stands, or whether you’re to side, everybody is the Brigade,” Wynkoop said.

The whole point of the Brigade is to come together and support the Beaver’s, whether you’re a senior or a freshman; a student or a parent; or a sports fan or not.

“The crowd is a lot less open to cheering,” Ingraham said of sporting events when the Brigade isn’t there.

The Brigade gets students involved in supporting our athletics.

And that’s the kind of community Wynkoop always describes Ballard High School of having. Where everyone supports one another.

“It’s fun to let the players know that we have they’re back, that we’re gonna support them through thick and thin,” Helean said.

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Behind the Beaver Brigade