Culminating in a trip to the Division 5 State Final, to describe Kingsway Football’s 2021 season as a success would be an understatement. In addition to their clear talent, the team relies heavily on their fans, and more importantly their cheerleaders, color guard, marching band, dance team, and sideline supporters to help them yield championship-worthy results.
This year, Kingsway students have adopted a new term related to all things school spirit, and they have an Instagram account to prove it. The term “Dragon Den” implies the community aspect of the Kingsway Regional School District, most especially in athletics.
The Instagram account, which is run by seniors Sarah Mower, Madison Lavender, and Molly Fitzpatrick, features updates about sports teams and events throughout the week. It helps students find ways to show their support for not only historically popular sports like football, but for other sports as well.
“Being part of the dragon den to me means being part of a home,” explains Evelyn Kornegay, junior. As a member of the color guard, Kornegay performed at the halftime show of home football games this season. Alongside the color guard squad, she was responsible for keeping the energy of the crowd up while the football team took their halftime break.
“When I am on the field, I think a lot about what I can do to connect with the crowd so that they can feel the emotion that every one of us puts into the performance,” Kornegay conveyed.
The color guard performs simultaneously with the Kingsway Marching Band, who are 2021 New Jersey State Champions and another key part of the Dragon Den.
“The marching band is truly one big family,” claimed Jason Zheng, junior. “Being part of such a vibrant school culture is really something special. I love the bond we have all built together and how we are all able to thrive in our own niche within the Kingsway environment,” he continued.
In a similar way, senior Erin Hawthorne was able to speak to the family-like atmosphere of the Kingsway cheerleading squad.
“The Kingsway cheerleading team holds a special place in my heart. We are constantly building each other up, pushing each other to be the best we possibly can be, and overall being there for each other no matter what,” she expressed.
While her love for the squad was obvious, Hawthorne was also quick to note one thing she wished was different about how the team was perceived in the Kingsway community.
“I don’t think a lot of people understand how hard the cheerleaders actually work,” she disclosed. “Not only do we spend hours perfecting our performance, but we put time into school spirit, being as loud as we possibly can, and working together to form an amazing routine for everyone. The Kingsway cheerleaders are some of the most hardworking girls I have ever met,” Hawthorne asserted.
In addition to the marching band and cheer squad, on-field student managers are also an important contributor to the success of Kingsway Football.
“As a football manager, I’m responsible for the team’s medical, training, and game equipment along with anything and everything the coaches need help doing,” explained junior, Christine Yang. “While many people may think that I’m just there as a water girl, there’s so much more that I do and it’s a much bigger commitment. Every Friday after school is always super busy. While the team is watching film, managers are running around prepping water and Gatorade, hanging up team roster posters, and setting up for team dinner. At the game, we usually run water and take pictures,” she went on to say.
No matter how students choose to show their school spirit, one thing is evident, and that is their commitment to the Kingsway Dragon Den. By working together, they have achieved greatness, not just on the football field, but in the classrooms, hallways, and every corner of the world where their dragon pride shines through.
by Audrey Pachuta