‘Red and White Night’ kicks off school year

Jake Pfeiffer and Kait McHale

Naperville Central held its second annual Red and White Night on Aug. 19, featuring every fall sport and performances from Central’s marching band, Arrowettes and cheer teams. 

Red and White Night features a number of scrimmages: sporting events in which athletes from the same team compete against each other. After the scrimmages, Central held an ‘80s-themed back-to-school dance in the main gym.

The dance was attended by 153 students.

Attendees were encouraged to bring food items, such as canned goods, dry pastas and snack foods like granola bars and chips to be donated to Loaves & Fishes, a local food pantry.

The first Red and White Night was held in 2021 as an expansion of Central’s football teams’ yearly scrimmages, adding several other fall sports to the day’s festivities. For 2022, Central’s new athletic director Chris Kirkpatrick expanded it to include all sports.

“It’s a big community event,” Kirkpatrick said. “It brings the school together. It creates a sense of pride and belonging in the school.”

The yearly back-to-school dance was then moved to the same night in order to increase the scope of the event, according to Kirkpatrick.

For the athletes involved, the night also serves as preparation for the fall sports seasons ahead. 

“It allows everyone to get the jitters out, to get ready for that first real contest,” Kirkpatrick said. “[Athletes get to] perform in front of a crowd, get their game jerseys on, and to feel like they have support [from their community].”

Athletes weren’t the only ones who were meant to be getting ready for that first contest.

“[Red and White night is meant to] build an excitement for the student body for our first home football or soccer games, and let them get together outside of school,” Kirkpatrick said. “This is the first opportunity for them to do that.”

Varsity football drew the highest spectator total of any of the events.

“It’s a lot of fun having a whole school community here,” said Mike Ulreich, varsity football head coach. “I think it’s a phenomenal event.” 

Red and White night served not only as a scrimmage night for all Redhawk fall sports but as a school community event to kick off the 2022-2023 school year. 

“While I love the game, the best part is seeing our community out together and students doing what they love,” said Merigan Neben, Assistant Principal for Student Services in a tweet after the event.