Meet the CFHS Zookeepers

Photos courtesy of Mary Catherine Cain and Madi Machado

Photos courtesy of Mary Catherine Cain and Madi Machado

      This year, four seniors are taking on the large task of controlling The Zoo. In past years, two senior boys and one girl have controlled The Zoo. However, after student body president senior Avery Polcar discussed the subject with assistant principal Ms. Amanda Rassi, an additional female zookeeper was added to the tradition. 

      “I loved being able to have a positive impact and help with female representation,” Polcar says.

       The tradition started in 2015 when Chagrin Falls seniors first bought the wooden staff known as Marshall from The Zoo. Marshall is simply a symbol of the students’ spirit. Every year, the current Zookeepers pass Marshall on to the next class.

       Zookeepers are tasked with keeping student spirit up at all athletic events. They create fun themes and organize chants throughout the student section. The Zookeepers are seniors James Kosmides, Zach Neimeier, Jenna Santamaria, and Kate Bartlett this year.

      Kosmides can be found leading chants during Friday football games. “My favorite part about games is when it is a close game and we win by a last-second shot or score and everyone goes crazy,” Kosmides says when describing football games. 

      Additionally, Kosmides has been playing basketball for Chagrin Falls since kindergarten. When he’s not playing basketball, Kosmides plays golf for fun. He is known for his positive attitude and ability to unite the student section during games. 

        Bartlett is an incredible athlete at CFHS, a key player on both the basketball and soccer teams. Being a zookeeper feels like being on a team because the CFHS soccer team is passionate and loves supporting each other, similar to the way the zookeepers support the athletes. 

       “It’s awesome to be surrounded by people who are always positive and uplifting,” explained Bartlett. She enjoys attending boys’ basketball games mostly because of the loud and unique environment in the gym. Bartlett feels that supporting her peers through games has helped her to make up for missed time because of covid. 

       She goes on to say that “The Zookeepers have been in contact with Mr. Janotovich and [they] have some big and exciting things coming back that are either returning from covid or are brand new… baby powder, confetti, and much more!”

       Santamaria is known for her enthusiasm and attendance at all sporting events. Despite being a basketball player herself, Santamaria makes time to attend almost every athletic event and encourages others to as well. She explains that this year The Zookeepers plan on making the games more interactive. “So far we have done a great job at getting people to show up and have fun.” 

        At the beach out, they brought beach balls and water guns to keep student interaction up. Santamaria also mentioned the themes, and how she and the other zookeepers came up with them. She says that they try to match jerseys, but the overall goal is to make the games rowdy. “My personal favorite is the chef out we are planning to do for the big girls soccer game against Kenston,” said Santamaria.

       Neimeier explained his love for sporting events when he said, “I like being able to bring together the student body in order to celebrate the achievements of fellow students.” He plays midfield for the CFHS boys lacrosse team and shows his support for the school both on and off the field. 

       Neimeier hopes to increase student participation through tailgating events, and he most looks forward to basketball season. Neimeier said he’s “ready to go crazy come basketball season,” when describing his enthusiasm for the sport.