In recent years, low student turnouts at ballgames, pep rallies and school dances have led many students and school administrators to believe school spirit is a thing of the past. How would you rate your "school spirit?" Do students find school-sponsored events interesting? Why or why not? What are some ways to renew student interest and participation in school events?
I would rate spirit in our school as half and half. Some people have a lot of school spirit. Those are the people you see at every game, cheering at pep rallies and attending all the dances. They also go all out for "spirit week," too. Then you have the other half, who say "Why should I?"
Unfortunately, a lot of students don't find school-sponsored events interesting. The reason for this is mainly because they feel isolated. Some events, such as games, seem as if they're just for the players and their friends. Another example would be dances. One dance will have a plain rock group and some people would feel that they have no business listening to that stuff, while another dance would have a lot of "go-go" and that would cause another crowd to feel unwelcome.
A way to renew interest would be to get everyone's opinion, then come to a compromise. That would improve the school's spirit. LAURA CRANCE Gwynn Park
As a foreign student, an outsider, I feel that there is school spirit here, but not nearly enough. There should be unity, a wish to make school more enjoyable, and not to do things half-heartedly just because that's what one is supposed to do.
School shouldn't be only for studying, exams and grades. It should also be like a social event; a place to have fun. True, not all events are exciting or extremely interesting, but they are all what you make them. SUZANNE MENDELSOHN Gwynn Park
School spirit has decreased a lot since the 1950s when football games were a major social event. "Be there or be square" sort of occasions.
Today, the only big turnouts at football games are home games (they are always earlier in the day when no one has anything better to do). Keeping spirit in schools up is really hard today because kids now worry more about individual activities with their friends than about school activities.
We have pretty good turnout at our home games. Our pep rallies are packed. But we only have two dances a year, and those get excellent turnouts. We even flock to other schools' dances!
We could start raising school spirit by adding dances and having more pep rallies. Students can only get interested if they know that the teachers are spirited as well. CATHI STONER Laurel
In the three years that I have been going to Laurel, I have noticed the almost zero percent participation by my classmates. I have to admit that my "school spirit" hasn't been the greatest, but now I am getting more involved. I have recently made the cheerleading squad and I now know how uninvolved I was.
I think that students find school-sponsored events interesting. Game days get the most interest because the students get out of two classes to see the game.
But now that I think about what I have just said, I guess the students in my school only share their interest when it involves getting them out of class.
I think that the schools should publicize the games more in order to get more participation. KAREN MOSLEY Laurel
Whoever said that high school students do not have school spirit should ask him/herself, "Do I have school spirit?" Our administrators promote school spirit by wearing buttons, attending school activities in their off-duty time and by encouraging us to get involved. The administrators' contagious attitude seems to have spead to three quarters of the school population.
I consider myself school-spirited because I am involved in the school community. I participate in the marching band, run for the track and field team and attend other activities.
Attendance at athletic events is another indicator of school spirit. Home games are well-attended by both administrators and students. Away games, as well, are well-attended.
In conclusion, Oxon Hill High's school spirit is high. Our administrators, cheerleaders, band members and other clubs boost the spirit even more. Oxon Hill is one school with spirit! TIFFANY BARTOSH Oxon Hill
School spirit is a shadow of what it once was. The demands of today's society have severely restricted the amount of time students can spend on their school. Increased classroom and social pressures, and the fact that many high school students work after school and on weekends, allow only a few to participate in any activities.
Administrators seem to have realized that the enthusiasm that students of the past exhibited has been replaced by a desire to get ahead in the world at an earlier age.
It is my belief that if the decline in school spirit continues, the students of years to come will see school only as a place of learning, and not as the place of emotional growth that it should be. SUSAN McCONIHAY Oxon Hill
Obviously, very few students know what spirit is. I feel that my school has very little spirit. There are a lot of activities, but no one wants to participate. They are all so busy playing "follow the leader," that no one wants to support the school unless everyone else does.
I feel that we need more pep rallies. We seldom have rallies, but when we do they are so short that no one pays much attention. I think that students should be proud of their school and make it the best it can be. TINA KELLY Friendly
I am sad to say that at my school, school spirit is a thing of the past. None of the student body ever seems to show any school spirit. It isn't that these students don't care, it's just that they don't know what school spirit is all about.
School pep rallies, athletic events and dances just aren't conducted in a way students find enjoyable. Why go to a ten-minute pep rally for "Homecoming?" That isn't long enough to promote school spirit, it's just enough time to sit down. What about school dances? No one wants to go to a dance that only plays one type of music or is so heavily chaperoned that students feel uncomfortable.
The administration has a lot to do with poor school spirit. All activities are conducted as if it was still "school." Security is tight and there is someone watching your every move. It is just like being in class.
If school spirit is ever to return, administrators are going to have to loosen the reins. Let it go just for once and see what happens. The results could be surprising! LINDSEY WARREN Friendly
School spirit is very important to the unity of the school. By attending games and cheering for our teams we encourage our classmates to do their best. This support expresses pride towards our school.
I feel, at times, that those who play the sports are not commended enough, making athletics seem an unimportant issue.
If more students realized the value and importance of expressing school spirit, I think there would be much more unity in the school's community. DEBBIE BRUNATTI Elizabeth Seton
Although it is very early in the year to determine the trend, the level of school spirit shown by the students at my school is fairly high. This observation is based on the limited number of activities that have taken place so far. A large number of students attend dances, meetings, socials and other school-sponsored events. The main reason for this support is that these events are advertised throughout the school well in advance.
However, so far this year, there has been a very low student turnout at sports events. The spirit-level of the athletes and other participants is high; but unfortunately, the student response has been minimal. If these athletic events were announced further in advance, more students could make plans to attend and the overall turnout would be higher.
In general, the level of school spirit has not gone down; the amount of free time students have to show it has. JENNIFER PLUMER Elizabeth Seton
"Exhausted school spirit" is a term that many students and school administrators would use if asked, "Where's the school spirit?" Many define it as a thing of the past; radicals may even call it a waste of time. The big question is, "Has school spirit been blown away by the winds of time?"
Within every one of us is a fraction of pride and affection for our school. We glow with pride at the achievement of a conference championship or a good academic representation. We raise our noses just an inch higher at the mention of our school's name. Deep inside us, a spirit thrives, always waiting to explode in the utmost brilliance. That spirit is most powerful, most brilliant and most effective when revealed simultaneously by the whole student body.
Unfortunately, there are always a few members of our student body who create empty seats at ball games, fewer voices at pep rallies, fewer people at a dance. In some cases, the students might be far too busy to participate in school activities. For the most part, those students never had much school spirit to begin with. School spirit can be more than just going to ball games and screaming your lungs out. School spirit can be as simple as wearing a jacket with your school's name on the back.
I believe that certain individuals can help a student to regain his/her school spirit. They belong to such organizations as the class officers, student council, National Honor Society and the pep rally club, among others. These institutions are the ones that must remain strong at the time of a student's uncertainty. In addition, these institutions must have the ability to make their ideas sound interesting to the student body. They must support themselves with eye-catching advertisements and alerting announcements. The more interesting it sounds, the more enthusiastic the students will be. Only then will school spirit not be a thing of the past. ERICK PETERSON DeMatha "Speak Out" Topic for November 5:
Some people believe that teenagers are not knowledgable enough about politics, the economy, international affairs, and other issues from today's news. How important is it to learn about current events? Do you feel that the schools are doing enough to teach about relevant issues? Or is it the responsibility of the students themselves to be well-informed about the news?
Responses should be no more than 150 words in length and typed or written legibly. Political-style cartoons on the topic are welcome and should be drawn on posterboard. All submissions should include the student's name, school and grade.
Responses should be addressed to: Weekly High School Section The Washington Post 1150 15th St. NW Washington, D.C. 20071
Deadline for responses to be received is Monday, October 26.