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Church fills teen with the spirit
Pep rally full of music and youth-friendly entertainment
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Jarin Owens, center left, tries to both keep a giant, swinging ball from other boys... and smash them with it. Others are, from left, Spencer Blacke, Wright Wilson and Josh Bryant. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Everyone knows what a pep rally is like, with the football team, cheerleaders, mascot and the band being the main participants. However, not many students at a school spirit event get to win an iPad.

This year, a group of teens at Blackshear Place Baptist Church were in for a much different experience.

Spirit Night on Sept. 11 featured a football team weigh-in, North Georgia’s largest cheer team, a velcro wall, bungee run, bounce houses and a drumline along with a drawing to win an iPad.

The first 600 students to register received their own free gym bag and participated in a free cookout.

Leading the effort for the first time this year was Sydney Tracy, student ministry assistant at the church. She said she was not disappointed in the turn-out of her first Spirit Night.

“This is awesome,” Tracy said. “I’m so excited.”

She believes the main goal of the student ministries in this effort is to raise school spirit, but with a bigger purpose in mind.

“(We are doing this) so that we can reach our local schools and reach them with the gospel,” she said.

Out of the crowd of excited teenagers, Tracy knew two high school students who particularly enjoyed the Wednesday night festivities.

Emily Loggins, a member of the church and a senior at Flowery Branch High School, said she comes to the event every year not only for Wednesday night services, but because Spirit Night has a mission.

“Everybody comes together for the same reason: to show spirit and represent their schools,” she said. “But it’s more of like a unified thing because it’s all for Jesus. So I think that’s what brings a lot of people out.”

Loggins not only participated to show school spirit, but to get her through the rest of the week.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” she said.

Buford High School sophomore Chase Peplin said even though not many of his classmates were present, he still comes and tries to bring in people.

“You really try to bring out your friends and everything,” he said.

Peplin said he would rather attend Spirit Night than a normal pep rally, because it stands for something. He also likes the fun activities.

“It’s also different, because it’s completely awesome,” he said. “Compared to other churches, it’s pretty unparallel.”

Peplin, like Loggins, said he always brings back lifted spirits when he leaves the event. He said fellowship among the students is inspiring.

“It improves my week, because I feel better when I come out here,” he said. “I feel uplifted with all the worship and everything, and then you get to interact with your friends and people that you know from school who don’t usually go here.”