"Go ahead and test me."
Venice Heights Elementary third-graders half-taunted, half-sang their slogan during Friday's pep rally.
The rally was a way for teachers and parents to motivate the students who will begin taking Ohio Achievement Tests next week.
Venice principal Donna Castelow said the rally is a good way to cheer students on and get them motivated.
"It's about getting the students to know it's not just them. If the kids see their parents are behind them, it may encourage them to do a little better," Castelow said.
Teachers, parents, board members, city commissioners and law enforcement officials were all in attendance, as well as athletes from the high school for entertainment.
"We're here to get them excited about their big week and to let them understand the importance of rest and good nutrition," said Steve Keller, high school head basketball coach.
Sandusky High School basketball players Cole Prophet, 18, and Bruce Parker, 17, talked about going to bed early and eating a healthy breakfast. John Staugh, 18, showed them how to dunk.
"When I was in third grade, I always liked to see the older basketball players," Staugh said. "We encourage them. Whatever we say they're going to take it in because we're older."
The students were given blue bracelets, similar to Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG bracelets, with an encouraging motto: "I'm a test taking star."
"We're just trying to rile them up and encourage them," said Alice Eddy, third-grade teacher.
Third-grader Kamren Barber, 8, said the rally did the trick.
"It got me pumped up. Singing the song was my favorite part. I liked the motions," Barber said.
About the basketball players, Barber said, "They were really tall."
Cheerleaders from the high school also danced to a variety of songs with encouraging messages and nutrition tips.
"I like it when the cheerleaders danced. They had funny moves," said 8-year-old Katie Henry.
The students have been preparing for the tests with a balance of schoolwork and morale boosters. They completed literature packets and made signs with motivational slogans.
"I just hope I pass. I just have to focus and if I don't know the answer, go back to the story," Barber said.
Third through eighth-grade students district-wide will begin OAT testing next week. The tests weigh heavily in determining a school's score on the state report cards.