Weekly Feature



2011-01-27 / Front Page

Trojan Nation to overtake hockey rivalry

East club promotes school pride
by JASON NADOLINSKI Reporter

East versus West.

Those are the only words needed — if they’re even needed at all — to rile up the participants any time West Seneca’s crosstown rivals meet up on an athletic field. And now there’s a new club at West Seneca East that is working to put the same school pride in the rest of the student body that comes naturally to the Trojan athletes.

Trojan Nation “tries to teach character to the students, create an environment of school spirit, and even address some global issues,” according to Nadine Ocasio, club co-founder and faculty adviser with Assistant Principal Jonathan Cervoni.

The organization was born out of the ashes of the school’s Character Council — a program with similar ideals that never took off with the school’s students — and, with help from fellow advisers Jason Winnicki, East’s other assistant principal, and Kerri Krueger, a foreign languages teacher, “is really starting to catch on” in Ocasio’s estimation.


West Seneca East’s school mascot modeled the Trojan Nation T-shirt at various locations around town earlier this school year, including Southgate Plaza, for a project to be included in the 2010-11 yearbook. The Trojan Nation is a new program designed to instill a sense of school pride among students. The program’s next big show of support will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, when East faces crosstown rival West in a boys hockey game at the town ice rink, 1250 Union Road. West Seneca East’s school mascot modeled the Trojan Nation T-shirt at various locations around town earlier this school year, including Southgate Plaza, for a project to be included in the 2010-11 yearbook. The Trojan Nation is a new program designed to instill a sense of school pride among students. The program’s next big show of support will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, when East faces crosstown rival West in a boys hockey game at the town ice rink, 1250 Union Road. “When Jason and Kerri came on board, we wanted to get more kids involved,” said Ocasio, a history and government teacher. “We had about 30 kids at the first meeting at the beginning of the school year. We’re trying to teach the kids to be proud of their school; it sounds so weird, I don’t think the kids get it because they never had that before. It’s not like the pride I felt when I was in high school. For example, when East plays West in the faculty basketball game, West has a huge crowd of fans wearing school colors and providing a lot of support. With East, there’s not so much of that.”

The club, which has rallied the student body to show its support at East-West games during the fall and winter seasons, now has its sights set on the upcoming East-West hockey game, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, at the town ice rink, located behind Town Hall, 1250 Union Road.

There’s a $1 admission fee mandated by Section VI, but Trojan Nation is also asking all attendees to donate either a hat, pair of gloves or set of mittens, which will be distributed to needy children. Anyone who donates will have their name entered into a drawing for an opportunity to participate in a “Shoot It In and Win” competition during the second intermission of the game.

“The East-West game is our big chance to draw a lot of kids,” Ocasio said. “We did a Trojan Nation basketball game earlier this winter where we asked people to bring two personal hygiene items for us to donate to students at the school we ‘adopted’ in Buffalo, and it was pretty successful. We’re just trying to add fun and show the kids what it’s like to have school spirit, and to help a worthy cause at the same time.”

The school Trojan Nation “adopted” is the Stanley Makowski School in Buffalo, a school with a high number of non-American students in its body — including a decent number of former refugees who are of Burmese descent. The items collected at the earlier basketball game were distributed to those refugee students at the suggestion of an English as a second language teacher at the Makowski School.

According to Ocasio, plans are in the works for a field trip on Feb. 10 for the East students most involved in Trojan Nation to meet some of the Makowski School students they are helping.

“There have been a couple of girls who have been there since the beginning, since this was the ‘Character Council,’ and there have been a couple of seniors on the hockey team who have gotten really involved with it as well,” she said. “They’ve all done a great job getting behind this and they seem to be enjoying the program a great deal. They’ll probably be among the kids rewarded for their efforts by getting to go on the field trip.”

Ocasio is hoping for a large turnout at the hockey game not just to help with the students at the Makowski School, but to help further instill that sense of school spirit that she feels is on the rise.

The club has made some green-and-gold-colored noisemakers for the game, and a large Trojan Nation sign has been created for students to sit under at the game.

Trojan Nation T-shirts, both green and gold, are for sale for $10 in the school store. And Ocasio said there’s nothing more she’d love to see Monday night than a packed house full of East fans sporting their school colors.

“We’re looking for tons of people to wear green and gold on game day, and I’d love to see the stands packed in a sea of green and gold for that game,” Ocasio said. “I experienced tons of unity and school spirit in high school, and I’d love for these kids to have that same kind of experience.”

Students interested in joining Trojan Nation officially should see Ocasio, Winnicki, Cervoni or Krueger during school hours.

e-mail: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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