By Ann Needle
Last spring, Nashoba Regional High School Principal Dr. Parry Graham was quite excited — breathless, almost — over the idea of having each of Nashoba’s four grades compete with one another to earn points for good attitude, school spirit, and academic achievement. At the end of the year, the winning class would take home what was to be the Nashoba Cup.
“It’s going to be like the [House] Cup at Hogwarts, except our classes compete,” Graham said at the time, referring to the House Cup awarded to one of the four houses at the Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter books.
Almost a year later, it appears the Nashoba Cup has worked its own magic in the NRHS halls. “It’s done a lot for school spirit,” said junior Kaitlin Vasington of Bolton. “It’s encouraged people who didn’t get into things to get into things.”
It was Vasington’s brother, John, who came up with the idea last year before he graduated, according to Johnna Doyle, a Science teacher and adviser to the Nashoba Cup Committee. Points are awarded to each of Nashoba’s four classes based on the five categories of the high school’s mission statement; integrity, communicate, achieve, relate, and engage.
For instance, junior Max Sharin of Stow noted he was awarded points for his class when he corrected a score involving the Volleyball team, even though it meant the Nashoba team lost points. Kaitlin Vasington mentioned earning Integrity points for her class by volunteering to wash some classroom windows one day. And, senior Ana Martinez of Leominster said she copped some class points for cleaning up in the cafeteria after a lunch period. Academic points are earned for each grade based on how many students make the honor roll.
One of the big beneficiaries of the Cup competition has been attendance at school events, especially those that traditionally have not attracted crowds. Each class can earn some hefty points for the number of students that turn out for and participate in schools dances, games, plays, and other events. Teresa Quinn, a Lancaster sophomore, observed that Spirit Week this fall seemed much more colorful than it was last year. And, she reported that this year’s Homecoming dance attracted a lot more students than in the past.
The Cup is to be awarded three times per year, with one class taking overall Cup honors at the end of the school year, Doyle explained. The seniors won the first period, and the freshman took the second one, she said. Doyle noted that prizes are paid for by donations and business sponsorships.
For the second period award, the freshmen decided on a special all-you-can-eat breakfast spread, cooked up by the cafeteria staff during a free period at the start of the day, Doyle said. The overwhelming majority of the class showed up, and Doyle said the compliments were flying. “It was definitely the best breakfast I’ve had all year,” commented Lancaster freshman Kameron Gilchrest.
The winning class for the third period will be feted with a barbeque, with the winning class for the year receiving $400 (thanks to Shaw’s in Stow) to spend as it chooses, said Doyle. She added that, of course, an actual Nashoba Cup will be awarded to the year’s winning class, engraved with the class’s name.
Beyond the Points
Doyle observed that Cup spirit is spreading into other activities, not just those that rake in points. Each class made a “hype video” to pump up Cup spirit. Describing her class’s video, Quinn reported the sophomores painted a red Solo cup gold, with a group of students yelling, “’We want the cup!’ We had a LOT of people. We had athletes on board, and it helped.”
Social media comes into play for ongoing bulletins on the Cup, with the Cup Committee using its Snapchat and Twitter accounts, which have been wildly popular, according to Kaitlin Vasington. Quinn added, “People get REALLY excited about the live tweets.”
Vasington reflected that some of the Cup’s popularity springs from the fact that, unlike in some activities such as the class plays, the seniors are not necessarily a sure lock to win. As for the third quarter, Doyle said the juniors are in the lead so far, but it is a tight race. In Quinn’s opinion, the Nashoba Cup can only become more popular, concluding, “Once someone wins, every other class will be saying, that will be us next year.”