102.7 KIIS FM is LA’s #1 Hit Music Radio Station in Los Angeles, California. Solely sponsored by iHeartMedia, Inc., the radio station announced a huge sweepstake between accredited middle/high schools, as well as colleges and universities. These can either be private, public, or charter schools that are located within the state of California and in Los Angeles County. The winning prize was a huge pep-rally plus a softball game, on the school’s own campus, against the Jonas Brothers and KIIS-FM staff.
On September 13, 2019, Girls Academic Leadership Academy (also known as GALA) received a phone call bearing exciting news. The school had been selected to be one of the top ten finalists with the highest nomination count from among all the eligible entries.
The public voting period was from September 13, 2019 through September 26, 2019. Voting was limited to one vote per verified email address per day, and everyone was encouraged to vote. Our school’s weekly emails and social media platforms notified parents and friends, who showed their support by voting. Often, the teachers contributed by permitting a minute for the students in class to cast in their quick votes. Thanks to the school’s active communication efforts, word spread rapidly throughout the campus.
On the morning of September 30, the long-awaited results for the ultimate pep rally contest were finally broadcasted through the radio station, 102.7 KIIS FM. Those who had tuned in heard Ryan Seacrest congratulating the winning school. Ryan Seacrest announced, “Are you ready, the winner of the back to school softball game? The high school that received the most votes and will welcome Nick, Kevin, and Joe is… Girls Academic Leadership Academy!”
As GALA was declared as the grand prize winner, the commentator included a rather surprising observation: “We have a clear winner but there is something interesting about our winner.” He elaborates that GALA’s student body consists merely a fraction of some student bodies in the ten finalist schools all over southern California. In fact, Girls Academic Leadership Academy is a new, all-girls public middle and high school that opened in 2016. Despite having merely 570 students, they were able to triumph, thanks to the determination of its students, parents, and friends.
Finally, on December 9, 2019, the closed event was hustling and bustling with activity. The latest record hits from the Jonas Brothers, as well as the latest pop hits, filled the air. The field was occupied as huge trucks drove in to install bleachers and fences. Since the event included a paid partnership with Nongshim America, Inc., the largest ramen and snack company in South Korea, all participants were able to enjoy ample supplies of their popular products. Aside from the eye-catching, massive replica of Shin Ramen, the endless miles of closed-boxes intrigued our curiosity.
As the event was to commence during lunch, students were wiggling out of their seats from excitement. Girls were excusing themselves to the bathrooms in order to peek outside the scene or more so to get the first glimpse of the world-class American pop-rock band, the Jonas Brothers.
As students were slowly filling into their seats, both our home team and the guest team concluded their warm-ups and shared their last encouraging words. Our entire student body erupted in screaming, yelling, and cheering for both sides as the GALA cheerleading team and the KIIS-FM staff signaled the start of the game whilst hyping the crowd. Under the glaring sun, the girls resorted to the huge head cutouts of each of the three Jonas Brothers, provided by KIIS-FM, as well as their handmade posters for shade.
During the game, we were given snacks and shirts from Nongshim, as well as mini towels and foam hands from KIIS-FM as souvenirs. It was notable that the girls who were immersed in the game were scrambling to get the most advantageous view of the field, whereas, those whose focus was on the free products were too busy stocking up on supplies. By the end of the game, I was lugging around a huge cardboard box loaded with my favorite childhood Korean snacks.
GALA has yet to form an official softball team; therefore, students with or without experience volunteered to participate. Nevertheless, it was equally as thrilling as the entire match concluded with the final score being: Team KIIS/Jonas 6, Gala 5. As the event concluded, students scrambled back into the third period. Some girls were quick to change into the Nongshim shirts in order to avoid the uniform policy.
A co-host on Ryan Seacrest’s morning show, Tanya Rad, wrote on the KIIS-FM page, “The other day we were lucky enough to play softball with the Jonas Brothers! Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas took a break from their Happiness Begins tour and played softball with the winners of the KIIS-FM Pep Rally with the Jonas Brothers: the Girls Academic Leadership Academy, where “girls love to be smart, self-confident and successful!”
It truly was an unforgettable day as KIIS-FM promised. This memorable day at school was able to happen with the support of many people. Thank you for the opportunity and experience. We are unbelievably grateful to KIIS-FM, Nongshim, and the Jonas Brothers for granting an amazing pep rally on our campus!
Joanne Chae, Grade 10