TOMS RIVER – He was the man who boosted the school spirit of everyone around him, so it was fitting to honor his retirement with a pep rally.
P. David Correll, at 79, is known as “The Voice of the Indians.” That title was bestowed upon him because he announced the games, with trademark phrases like “T-t-touchdown!”
The Correll family marched onto the football field between two rows of band members playing and doing the Indian chop. He rang the ceremonial Detwiler Bell.
The cheerleaders, and the current Indian and Spirit led the crowd in some call and response.
“Give me an I…” which would eventually spell INDIANS.
“We Are TR,” which ends with “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” because they are polite.
“We’ve got spirit, yes we do! We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?!”
“Maroon – White – Grrr – Fight.”
That last one was done by Principal Michael Citta, who spoke of the tens of thousands of lives touched by the Correll family. “No celebration or rally is loud enough to show what your family means to this home.”
They sang “Old Indian Tom,” and if you didn’t know the words you could scan a code and read them on your phone.
An alumni, Michele Lewis, said that “Mr. Correll is school spirit,” and went on to list the reasons why. He would remember everyone’s name, even if you weren’t one of his students. He would dress up for spirit day (which was pretty much every day for him).
“You taught us about pride and school spirit,” she said, having to stop for tears.
For him, he was probably just doing what he loved, she said. But it meant so much more to everyone else.
“You won’t physically be here, but your voice will echo through these halls,” she said.
His family, including his wife Dianna, were introduced, and he was shown a plaque in recognition that will be hung in the halls.
Correll spoke about how the pep rallies came to be. His voice is quieter now but he still called out “First dowwwn Indians!”
His biggest cheerleader was his son, physical education teacher David Correll.
“He poured his heart and soul into this school. He loved the school and the people,” his son said.
At least a hundred people were out on the field that day. After the ceremony, P. David Correll and his wife Dianna sat on chairs in the middle of the field while folks lined up 50 yards deep to greet them and tell them what he means to them. They took pictures with him and shared stories.
Everyone was there as a response who answered Correll’s call.