Spartan Traditions


Aliza Ahmad and Misha Salman

High school is a special time for everyone, filled with memories. But what exactly makes it special? The traditions each school has established. SCA President senior Peter Pollatos and two-time yearbook editor-in-chief senior Maria Kaffes walk us through some of Broad Run’s most memorable traditions.

Photo Credits : Grace Bazaar

First up is the notorious Spartan Head! “The Spartan Head is a big part of Broad Run. It has been here since when the school first opened. And stepping on it is disrespectful because it represents the school,” said Pollatos. “It was really funny because the first time I walked in the school I actually stepped on it. I got yelled at; it was really funny.  [I] definitely got made fun of a little bit. It’s a light hearted thing that we have here at Broad Run, so don’t step on it,” added Kaffes.

What do the Spartans think about the Spartan Head? “It’s really funny watching people get in trouble,” said sophomore Grace Bazaar. “It is funny to see people walk around it all the time,” added freshman Izzy Rotaru. “It shows a place of respect and dignity for the school mascot and community. It also brings us all together when we collectively agree on one thing,” said junior Maddy Adler. “I love the whole no stepping on the Spartan Head, or the don’t split the pole on game day type stuff. It’s just fun to believe in little stuff that means something to everyone!” added sophomore Hannah Jensen.

As Pollatos said, the Spartan Head has been here since the school first opened,  so what do alumni think of it? “I think it shows great respect for the school and culture.” said Broad Run class of 2016 graduate Mathew Meier. “[The] Spartan Head is most memorable to me because I was genuinely afraid I would be told by an upperclassman I’d have to clean it with a toothbrush if I stepped on it,” said Broad Run class of 1999 graduate Jessica O’Brien. (O’Brien was also the co-editor for the Spartan in 1998 and 1999.) “My boyfriend’s dad made it; we never ever disrespected it by walking across the tiles,” said class of 1984 graduate Kathy Hatch. “I was a student there the first year Broad Run High School [opened] l and not walking on the Spartan Head was already a tradition in the making,” said Roy Hall. 

There is a rumor that stepping on the Spartan Head brings bad luck. “My sister stepped on it and the team lost,” said freshman Yogesh Thambidurai. “It’s superstitious,” adds freshman Jiya Bundele. However, Peter assures us that the superstition surrounding the prized Spartan Head is purely a rumor. “It’s not really is a superstition ; it’s something so old and it’s something that really represents the school. It’s about respect; it’s not like you’re going to have something bad happening towards you–it’s just disrespectful.”

The Battle of the Burn 2021 at Segra Field Photo Credit : Maria Kaffes

Another fan favorite is the Battle of the Burn, which is known to be the most hyped-up high school football game in Loudoun County. “The Battle of the Burn is Broad Run versus Stone Bridge, which are neighboring high schools about five minutes from each other. We’re no longer in the same division as Stone Bridge so it doesn’t hold as much meaning as it used to, but now it is used to raise money for a fundraiser. This year, it was Mobile Hope, which is a non-profit organization in Leesburg, VA.

“It’s a really fun competition between both schools. We also do spirit links, and we won for about 15 years straight now; it’s really really cool. [Whichever] school donates the most money makes spirit links and whoever’s the longest wins,” said Kaffes. 

“I think we have a great student section and a very supportive community and it’s also the best rivalry game around,” said Meier. “Battle of the Burn is competitive and the best football game,” added sophomore Reagan Troy. “One of my friend’s parents works for Stone Bridge, so we’ve been going to the games since we were really little,” said freshman Ava Gearing. 

Broad Run was built in 1969 while Stonebridge has been around since 2001. So what was the BOTB equivalent pre-Bulldogs? “During my tenth grade year, Potomac Falls High in Sterling was built so it was a big deal to play them,” said O’Brien.

Although the Battle of the Burn may be the most exciting football game of the year for Broad Run, Friday Night football is a much loved Broad Run tradition. 

Broad Run’s Maroon Crew | Photo Credit : Maria Kaffes

If you’ve ever gone to a football game, you know our student section, The Maroon Crew, is loud! Senior Ariana Nabil said she loves the Maroon Crew “because it’s when we all unite.” One of our student section traditions is our fight song. Here is Varsity Cheer Captain Senior Ali Smallwood with our fight song. “Cheer, cheer for our Broad Run High / we’re gonna win this game if we try / with our backs and linemen strong / stand up and shout, let’s cheer them on /we never stagger, we never fall / our Broad Run Spartans are best of all / maroon and gold will shine tonight / so stand up for Broad Run High, fight, fight, fight!” “Every time I hear it played, it brings back great memories of Friday night football games,” said Mary Fotchman, Class of 1984 graduate.

Photo Credits : Sara Younce

The next “football” tradition is one that I have yet to experience due to it being canceled this school year. The Powderpuff Game. “Basically it’s [when] the girls play flag football, and the football players [are] the cheerleaders, which was really really funny,” said Kaffes. “Powderpuff was another opportunity to hang out with friends,” said junior Rayaan Ahmad. 

Since we’re talking football, what’s the best way to get students hyped up for the games? A pep rally of course! Pep rallies are one of Mr. Barbour’s favorite Broad Run traditions “because of the school spirit” he said. 

Broad Run’s Varsity Field Hockey Team  Photo Credits : Maria Kaffes

We’ve covered football, so now let’s show some love to some other Broad Run sports. “I’m a softball player, and high school sports are so fun,” said junior Gabby Sultan. “We like to dance pre-game in the locker room all the time,” said varsity girls basketball captain senior Yvonne Lee.  Pre-game dances seem like a lot of fun! “Each game we anonymously write cards to two of our teammates to encourage them for the upcoming match. Every away game, on the ride on the bus, we bring a speaker and hype ourselves up to Pitbull songs,” said varsity field hockey captain senior Dory Raterman. 

Sports traditions are fun, but have you ever wondered where the swim team practices? According to several upperclassmen, there’s a pool on the roof.  “I remember when I was a freshman, [the seniors] kept telling us that, and we were so gullible and fell for it. Safe to say that we were a bit disappointed when there wasn’t one,” said senior Maria Massana. Maria isn’t the only one who has fallen for it. Junior Maddy Adler said, “I completely believed it.” “I like telling freshies that there’s a pool on the roof because it’s funny to mess with them,” said Junior Mars Schichl.

But is there any truth to these rumors?  “It’s just something seniors do to freshmen. I just heard about it when I came here my first year, “said Pollatos. My co-author Misha Salman suggested that Peter try the joke on me. Nice try, Misha, but I’ve already fallen for it. Several times actually. OK, but actually where does the swim team practice?!?

Photo Credits : Ava Gearing

The next is a pretty common high school experience, Homecoming week! “The freshmen get the little tiny area where the Spartan Head is to decorate so they’re the only class without a hallway usually. The other three classes get bigger hallways. The seniors get the biggest, the longest and then they decorate it to the theme. There’s also murals they paint, the murals that pop up every year come from that, and they come from themes. This year was the board games. The seniors did candy land, and the seniors usually place first every year,” said Kaffes.

“I love getting to compete for dressing up on the spirit days,” said Freshman Ava Gearing. “Homecoming Football Night! I love to gather with my friends and cheer on our football team!” said junior Lauren Lemieux. Senior Mathew Gehley said he loves the homecoming parade “as it brings everyone together and is a fun celebration.”

What did homecoming week look like 40 years ago? “We had so many fun spirit days that you can’t do anymore; a bonfire, pajama day where guys joked and wore their Mom’s nightgown, nerd day – when we would dress like our rival Park View, the pep rally with the chorus and band doing our fight song. It was so funny!” said class of 1987 graduate Kim Luckabaugh.

Photo Credits : Aliza Ahmad

Spirit days are a big part of Homecoming week, but spirit days, in general, are a blast! “I love all the spirit days and dressing up at football games,” said Gabby Sultan. One of my favorite spirit weeks is pink week. Freshman Leah Watson agrees with me. “I really like pink out and how the whole school is just covered in pink,” she said. 

“This year unfortunately–it was supposed to be at Rock Ridge, but they forfeited, so I don’t think we got as much out of the pink week as we usually do. Usually it’s a way bigger deal because of the cause. We here at Broad Run we really support that cause,” said Kaffes.

The next tradition is Fun Fact Friday led by Ms. Christiansen! “Ms.Christiansen always does Fun Fact Friday; she’s the one that made it. I don’t know when she made it, but she’s the one who came up with it, she’s the one who’s been doing it,” said Pollatos. 

Now to an equally loved and hated “tradition,” Chad the Chair. This tradition attempt was created by none other than Peter Pollatos. “Chad the Chair is something that I made. So basically, Mr.Runfola gave me a chair, and I was like, I’m gonna do something stupid with it, like take photos with it. Me and my friend Michael [Seltzer] did that and it got some hype [around] it. It ended up being destroyed, but, hey, it still lives on in Broad Run history because it did get a lot of hype. Even one of the photographers for Broad Run games [Mandy Poff] made an edit–like that’s how much hype it got. It was a fun thing to do but good things come to an end,” said Pollatos.

Coming up is Senior Pranks. “Senior pranks–we always made sure it was safe and fun,” said Hatch. 

Here are some examples. “Clocks were put in all the senior lockers set to go off at the same time,” said Carrie Franklin. The next is my personal favorite. “The school was put up for sale,” said Michelle Greene de Hoyos. 

 In 1984 there was a “funeral for our principal. [We put] black balloons inside [a] casket we made. [We] locked all the doors from the outside with chains and locks, so we couldn’t get in the school in the morning,” said Hatch. “I so remember the funeral in the senior court and hanging underwear. The class of 84 was the best,” said Nadine Price. “I remember Margaret Jackson giving the eulogy and the black balloons coming out of the coffin,” said Mary Fotchman. “Such great memories! We always and prior years we made sure it was for fun and never destroyed school property,” Hatch added.

The next example is a gross one: the class of 1995 senior prank. “There were greased pigs let loose in the main hallway, which ended up going into the cafeteria,” said Richard Van Ness.

Senior Pranks are no longer a thing at Broad Run. Don’t get any ideas!

We hope you enjoyed learning about the rich history and traditions here at Broad Run.  A special thanks to Peter Pollatos and Maria Kaffes, as well as everyone else who contributed to the making of this article. Thank you to all the alumni who helped out, and like Nadin Price said, “The class of 84 was the best.” 


Photo Credit : Maria Kaffes