O-ZONE: The history behind the name
By Wes Caldwell | May. 6, 2022 12:09 PM
Haley Barth, Staff October 28, 2021 “C-A-K-E C-A-K-E!” The O-ZONE screams, smiles, and goes untamed after Highlands High School scores a touchdown. The O-ZONE wasn’t always like this with so many people and cheers. It all started in 2000 at an eighth-grade basketball team where Highlands Alumnus Robbie Peterman and his friends were just cheering on the team and banging on drums. Then eighth-grader Issac Schererr was on the basketball team and made a big O with his arms and an “OH” sound when he would knock someone down. That was the beginning. Peterman gave information about how the O-ZONE got the name. “We started to notice that all these other places like Duke had the Cameron Crazies and we realized we needed a name. So we started pitching names, Luke is not a big sports fan at all but he was our friend so we took his input. He said what about the O-ZONE and everyone was like ‘I like it, I like it.’” Robbie’s mom, Mary Peterman, supplied them with all the paint to paint their bodies and let all of these boys come over and have a party before the basketball game. Former Highlands Football coach Dale Mueller described the rituals of the newly formed O-ZONE. “They would march from Robbie’s house up to the basketball game and make an entrance with 50 maybe 100 people. They would all dress up in various ways. and Terrence Muller, Luke Boehne, and Issac Scherrer stopped playing basketball and all these guys were just fun-loving guys who loved to laugh.” Before this, there wasn’t a student section for Highlands and it was mainly parents. “People used to always say where is the spirit and how do we get the students excited. Robbie really wasn’t looking to solve that problem he just loved to cheer on the team,” stated Mueller. The O-ZONE didn’t start expanding to football, volleyball, and other sports until 2005. According to Peterman, it was because of a tradition that started with basketball. “It was mainly just basketball but the O-ZONE for the other sports but it took off at a different time, specifically football because everyone who was in the O-ZONE at the time was on the football team including myself.” The O-ZONE has impacted the players’ motivation and overall performance, specifically when their fellow students cheer for them. According to HHS boys basketball coach Kevin Listerman, this showing of school spirit has impacted the HHS athletes in positive ways. “I think we have had very good O-ZONE’s in football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. They have really impacted the players and the basketball players get really pumped when the O-ZONE is cheering them on.” HHS girls basketball coach Jaime Richey said the O-ZONE brings the Bluebird spirit. “I think it’s great for the athletes to have the support from their peers. I’m excited to see the O-ZONE at our girls basketball games this year.” The O-ZONE has been a big part of then and today and O-ZONE leaders today feel like they have to uphold the tradition. According to O-ZONE leader Macy Hedenberg, this year the students have to uphold the tradition of the O-ZONE. “I think that we had to get the school back in the group and I think that we had to get back in the routine and hopefully next year the class of 2023 can uphold what we have done.” The O-ZONE continues to be a big part of our Bluebird community, having a lot of history behind it that many students, staff, and community members are not aware of.