Rampeteers: Major Players in Academy Awards Show

Skylar Schultz, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

As the buzz around this year’s Academy Awards show is ramping up, so are its rampeteers.  A long-standing staple of the show, this year’s rampeteers will be participating in a 24-year-old tradition, as old as the show itself.

“When I brought the idea of the show from my big high school in the Chicago area, we were looking for ways to involve freshmen and sophomores,” said English teacher Carolyn Brown.  “You had to be a junior or senior to be in the show; having the ‘escorts’ or ‘rampeteers’ was a way to give freshmen and sophomores a role.”

However, the job has evolved quite a bit since. “Over the years the contestants have often asked their rampeteer to do more than just escort them onto the ramp,” said Brown. “Some have done a little dancing, acting, or singing onstage in the intro or played a role in the contestant’s video.”

Rampeteers are also essential during the run of the show, especially in their reappearance for the Q & A competition.  “Contestants are usually nervous for the Q & A portion of the contest,” said Brown. “Often they are drained and forget what to do near the end of the night.”

Will this year’s crew be up to the task? They seem to think so.

“I am very excited about being chosen to become a rampeteer,” said freshman Barbara Inciarte. “I have been told by several people that being a rampeteer is extremely fun. I can’t wait to experience it myself!”

Sophomore Abby Elfner said, “I’ve wanted to be part of Academy Awards since I saw it last year, and I’m really looking forward to see the difference between watching it and actually being in it.”

“I am a little nervous,” admitted Jacob Massart, “because I wasn’t a part of Academy Awards last year, but I’m excited to participate and get a feel for the competition.”

Many participating sophomores became interested after watching the show as freshmen. As for the freshmen, their interest was piqued even earlier in life.

“I first experienced the Academy Awards when I was in seventh grade,” said Alyssa Kulesa. “My sister said I should go.”

“My sister Libby did it her freshman year, and I thought it’d be fun,” said Evie Rickards. “ When I went the first time, the first thing that happened was a blast of confetti which started the night off right!”

While the freshmen were excited by the rave reviews of their predecessors, it took a bit more peer pressure to get the sophomores on board.

When asked her motivation to apply, Elfner admitted, “Truthfully, a pact with a friend. I told her I would put my name in if she did, and now we’re both in it together.”

Joey Bonadonna said, “Actually, Jacob Massart posted on his Instagram story that he signed up, and it reminded me to check my email and put my name in.”

Still, despite any previous or current concerns, Notre Dame’s latest batch of rampeteers is nothing but eager to work with their partners.

“My partner is Joel Meglic and I couldn’t be happier,” said Delaney Gallagher. “He’s a great guy with a great personality, and I believe he has a great chance at this Academy Awards.”

“I have Fritz and I’m super excited,” said Alexis Gunderson. “I know him from cross country and getting to know him more will be fun.”

“My partner is Maggie Otradovec and I think our chances are very good,” said Bonadonna. “If anyone in the show this year has the creativity to make another great Academy Awards memory, it’s definitely her.”

Interestingly enough, rampeteer participation often continues past their first walk onstage. “A lot of rampeteers as freshmen and sophomores end up auditioning for emcee or as contestants after their initial fun in the show,” said Mrs. Brown.

“Now that Mr. NDA has become Academy Awards, there’s at least a chance for me, as a rampeteer, to come back and try it from the other side of the stage,” said Skylar Schultz.

“I’ve always wanted to participate,” said Bonadonna. “I hope in the future that my peers vote me into being a part of this great event.”

“I possibly see myself doing this in the future,” considered Kylie Callaway. “I enjoy it and it makes me laugh and have fun.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever take my name out of the voting, so it really depends on if I get voted in or not,” said Massart.

Gallagher took a different angle: “Although I don’t see myself as a contestant in the future, I would love to be an emcee.” 

Since their inception, positions like rampeteer and emcee have shown that there is a place for everyone in the great tradition of the Academy Awards.