Welcome to the Hawk’s Nest


Meghan Bean

Seahawk Mascot proudly stands in front of the student section.

Meghan Bean, Editor in Chief

Stephen Decatur High School has a student body of roughly 1,600 young adults. Our newly-renovated stadium, record-breaking football team, and large student body should add up to be an impressive student section.

Our student section is the first set of bleachers on the home side as you enter the stadium. It is comprised of students from across all grade levels, and right in front of the cheerleaders.

Brooks Kendall leading a cheer in the student section. (Meghan Bean photo)

Themes among student sections have been the norm for years, ranging from last year’s Blackout and Neon themes, to the USA-themed game on Sept. 28 against Parkside High School. In recent years, through the use of social media, these themes have become more coordinated and popularized.

The responsibility for these themes falls on a single studentrun Instagram account, SDHS Hawks Nest. This account posts the themes for the upcoming game up to a week in advance, allowing the student section to create a cohesive style and appear to everyone looking on as a united front behind our beloved team.

Cheers echoing from the student section can be heard throughout the stadium and certain upperclassmen students have taken it upon themselves to lead these cheers, for purposes ranging from intimidation to support.

Senior Brooks Kendall often can be seen holding a large “Decatur” adorned megaphone in the student section.

Senior Luke Mergott wearing the blackout uniform. (Meghan Bean photo)

“We should be the 12th man, basically, of the football team,” Kendall said. “We’re just there to back up the team. If the ref makes a bad call or someone makes a good play, we should let them know.”

This sentiment is shared by his fellow senior, Brock Grosso.The goal is to get everyone’s attention,” he said. “A couple weeks ago, I dressed up as the pope. We get in the heads of the enemy team.”

With the most obvious intention to be to support our players, it’s only relevant to question what kind of impact the loud chants, extravagant costumes, and signs have on them during the game.

While the intended intimidation manages to reach members of the opposing team, several Seahawk players say the student section antics serves as reassurance.

“It takes the pressure off and helps me have more fun,” said junior Gavin Solito. “A lot of times, I’ll look up there and look for people that I know. If they bring the energy, then we will have it on the field.”

The idea of unity carries on in different ways through this, a school behind their team, a theme among the students, and even the student section matching the players.

Fireworks at the end of the Homecoming game after the Seahawks’ win. (Meghan Bean photo)

At our Homecoming game this year, you could see the team on the field wearing all-black uniforms instead of the typical blue and white ones. A quick glance behind them would show hundreds of students following suit, dressed head-to-toe in black.

This student section Homecoming “blackout” was contrasted by the bright lights and colors of fireworks at several crucial parts of the game – and, of course, the victory.

Participation in the student section theme and chants has been elevated in recent years, even warranting an announcement in the beginning of the year from Principal Tom Sites commending the school spirit.

Even community members who attend games at multiple schools will note a difference between our student sections and others. It’s all loud noise, passionate students, and an endless support for our team. Welcome to the Hawk’s Nest.