​We are a few months away from a formal “spirit week” at Cary Academy, you would not know that by activity on campus this fall.

On Friday, September 26, the school held its annual Fall Tailgate. This year’s Upper School spirit assembly featured a rousing game of faculty vs. students volleyball, with the students schooling the faculty this year.

A few weeks earlier, MS spirit was in full force during the annual Charger Cup, where students are divided into blue and gold teams and compete in a variety of wacky (and that is being generous) challenges. My favorite would be the pizza box event, where students have to carry as many (empty) pizza boxes as they can in a relay-style race. At the end of the day, our MS faculty had their own version of the race to entertain the students will results were tallied. You can judge the success of that activity by the large number of camera-phones held up by the parent volunteers to capture the chaos.

In addition to having fun and building camaraderie, many of our spirit activities are designed to generate energy and support for our student athletes. This fall season has gotten off to a fabulous start in both the MS and US. Overall, 48% of our students (7th-12th grades) are participating in a competitive school team this fall. This represents a new high for fall participation rates at Cary Academy. We are on track to beat last year’s overall participation rate, which was near 80%.

Of course, with participation rates being so high and multiple competitions happening on the same days, who is left to cheer for the Chargers? The PTAA’s Charger Club may have found an answer. This year we have seen the launch of Food Truck Tuesdays to encourage student and adult attendance on big game days. While I don’t have any numbers for comparison, anecdotal evidence (full garbage cans and even fuller bellies) suggests the strategy is working. We are seeing more families “make an afternoon of it” and take in several games on a single day.

And how are our teams doing? Well, it is too early to put a jinx on anybody, but many of our teams are likely to make a good run into their respective post-seasons this year. This will keep a good thing going when it comes to our performance against peers locally and across the state.

Each year, in a competition for the Wells Fargo Cup, the NCISSA (our NCAA) ranks all schools on their overall competitiveness at the state level across all sports. At the end of last school year, Cary Academy finished in 4th place in the 3A large-school category. We were the top-ranking school in the Triangle, beating Ravenscroft (5th place) and DA (6th place). The top three places in the state went to Charlotte-area powerhouses. Since 2010, Cary Academy has performed well in the Wells Fargo Cup, finishing no lower than 6th (there are a total of 24 schools in our grouping statewide), but last year was our highest ever showing and the first time we topped our Triangle rivals.

Go Chargers!