First Female Captain in Red Tide History


Andy Kim

Nicole Halverson helps to lead the Red Tide section at a football game.

For the first time in PVHS history, students now have a female Red Tide leader: Nicole Halverson.

A thorough investigation of Palos Verdes High School yearbooks and records shows that for the first time in eleven years, a female has been chosen as a Red Tide Captain at PV High.

Since the official beginning of Red Tide in 2006, Halverson has broken the recent record of solely male Red Tide presidents, opening a window for more girls to apply to become future Red Tide leaders.

“The [Red Tide] leadership just happened by custom of practice, just kept in the hands of the male students because the male students started it back in the day when they were gathering their friends to support Coach Boyd and the weak basketball program,” said social science Tecia Barton, former Red Tide Advisor.

Louis Harley, who has been teaching at Palos Verdes High for 13 years, said that “No, there’s never been [a female Red Tide President].”

Halverson believes gender shouldn’t play as big of a role as it does, and states that “girl or boy, if you love this school and you’re super passionate about school spirit, then you’re the perfect fit to be a Red Tide Captain. So if that means having one girl and seven boys like it is this year, cool…I don’t think it matters the ratio of girls to boys.”

Jama Maxfield, Red Tide Advisor, was involved in choosing Nicole as one of the captains said they chose Nicole because, “she was enthusiastic, she’s passionate about the school. During the interview, we actually made them lead a cheer, and she was hands down the best of the entire slew of people we interviewed.”

For some underclassmen, Halverson serves a strong example of female leadership and the possibilities of anyone, despite their gender. Sophomore Ryan Pascal feels that the change in the school’s dynamic is well overdue.

“It’s definitely about time…why hasn’t there been a girl Red Tide captain?” said Pascal.

However, Pascal stated that there is still room for improvement, and “still [thinks] we have a long way to go because we’re still picking leaders based off of popularity.”  

She continued by saying leaders “should be picked off of their leadership skills, off of their reliability, and [students] should be able to know that these Red Tide Captains know how to act inside and outside of school.”

Halverson decided to shoot for Red Tide President because when she “heard that girls could try out, [she] thought it would be a really amazing opportunity, because [she’s] been in ASB for every single year of high school, and school spirit is [her] favorite thing,” as she has actually “gone to every home football game since freshman year.”

Halverson did face some challenges entering as a female Red Tide leader, as Maxfield mentioned that “at first, it was a shock. Some of the past Red Tide Presidents were a little leery of the fact that there was now a girl included.”    

Maxfeild continued further and stated “I know that she took a beating on social media from some alumni who thought that this was a mistake to do, and I’ve been really proud of how she’s risen to the occasion and hasn’t let it stop her.”

However, there has been a great deal of support for Halverson as a Red Tide Captain coming from the student body, faculty, and her fellow Red Tide captains.

“I have a lot of support from the seven other Red Tide Presidents. Also from Ms. Maxfield, Ms. Hafer, Mr. Barbara, and Dr. Park, so they made the experience super comfortable for me,” said Halverson.

Fellow Red Tide Captain Dawson Michel appreciates Nicole’s role in the team of presidents and said that, “being that there are a lot more guys, I think there’s a little bit of diffusion of responsibility at some points, but I think Nicole really kind of picks up the slack, organizes us all together, and kind of just gets us where we need.”

By having Halverson break through the glass ceiling, people hope that in the future, there will be more opporunities for females to step out of their comfort zone and follow Halverson’s footsteps.

In the words of Park, “Why can’t it be eight girls?”