The Townie Herd is Born!
EPHS Students form to promote peers and school
A group of students at East Providence High School have formed to attend school events, on and off campus, for the purpose of supporting classmates. They dress in Townie regalia; they carry bullhorns and flags and they sing, cheer and dance in the bleachers and stadiums as they offer encouragement to Townie teams. Although the Herd has student leaders taking charge, the group may have been formed at the urging of high school boys’ basketball coach Joe Andrade. Andrade has helped organize and advise the group and the Herd has grown to over 135 student members. “I’m here to advise and help, but the students took the idea and ran with it,” said Andrade. “There are core student volunteers like Chris Riel, Billy Fitzgerald, Jason Russo, Jacob Leite, Sophia Muhl, John Vaughn, and Marley Nicini. Marley Nicni is our sports photographer, and Chris Riel and Marcus Bostic take leadership roles with graphics and social media. Jason Russo and Jacob Leite announcing the games and do the scoreboard, and Billy the Herd and John Vaughn have lead roles in motivating the student sections at games,” added Andrade.
Some of the Herd’s goals are to get the students involved in different aspects of the school and sports, to get athletes to support other athletes, students to support students, and overall keep the culture of the school positive with pride. “I want kids to have fun and have something to look forward to when they are in school. I want the students to see academic success and to also take leadership roles in our school. Kids need positive reasons outside the classroom to help them succeed within their studies,” he added.
Coach Andrade, in addition to being a respected teacher, has been a very successful boys basketball coach. His recent teams have impressed people statewide and the Townies are always competitive, featuring some of the state’s best players. The driving motivation behind Joe Andrade is to see that high school kids learn and do well. “I want kids to like school and to have fun and do well. We all need to support each other, athletes and non-athletes. Our kids must support all areas like the arts, music, academic clubs, etc. That’s what Townie Pride means to me.” Andrade and others are seeing the rewards of the student led Herd. Recently a parent sent the Superintendent of Schools and School Principal a letter about the Herd. “I am so pleased that my son is part of the Herd,” she writes. “The biggest goal I have for my son is that he will do well in school, of course. Not an easy task always. He did like coming to EPHS last year but since joining the Herd, he absolutely loves coming to school this year. Thanks to the Herd,” she wrote. That parent’s sentiment is just the result Andrade was hoping for with the Herd. “Early this year we have had many successes with the Herd. I hope it continues as we enter the winter season. As some would agree, Townie Pride is back,” said the coach/adviser.
School Principal William Black is a big promoter of the Herd. Black often sits for awhile and cheers with his students in the stands or bleachers. “The Herd has been a huge asset to East Providence High School this school year. So many students have invested their time and enthusiasm to energize our community and keep Townie Pride flowing during our games. The culture and climate of the school has been positively impacted by the Herd. Students, Staff and Families talk about the Herd often and say how fun it is to attend the games this year. They have made a massive difference on the high school experience this year at EPHS and we are lucky to have them!” Black told the Reporter.
“The Herd is Townie Pride personified and it is growing by the day,” said EPHS veteran teacher, coach and Athletic Director, Gregg Amore. “It is a group of positive kids supporting their classmates and creating an exciting environment around Townie Athletics. They certainly give us a home field advantage,” Amore said. The Herd also travels to away games when they can. The group recently attended a volleyball game at Barrington High School. The theme that night was “dress up” and support Townies in a respectful way. Indeed, many of the Herd, if not all, were dressed in formal type clothes and were well received. “The Herd value is in promoting school and community spirit,” adds Amore. “The best part is that this is a student driven initiative that has tremendous support from the school administration and staff,” Amore said.
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