In recent years, low student turnouts at ballgames, pep rallies and school dances have led many students and 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?

Outside influences have lured kids from the school activities designed to create school spirit. I think the problem is money-related.

A lot of students now want cars, rings, chains and other material things that will make them feel accepted by their peers. Senior students have class expenses such as trips and rings. Public school is supposed to be free. There could be any number of reasons why students are not attending the activities planned, but money might be a big issue that no one has bothered to think about.

If school morale were as important as material wealth, school-sponsored events would be just bursting with participation. SHAWN JOHNSON Woodson

Though we do not have a sports program, school spirit is still very evident at Banneker. Most students at Banneker take pride in their work and strive to achieve. Just as one would congratulate a member of the basketball team, the football team, etc., we tend to congratulate each other on scholastic achievement. Receiving recognition from peers can really boost you up and make you want to do well.

Before attending Banneker, I participated heavily in sports in grade school. Coming to Banneker, I feared the loss of sports. But as time went on, I realized that I didn't miss the extracurricular competition as much as I had anticipated. Besides, most of the time I was preoccupied with school studies.

Being aware that studying is not the only part of school, I often take part in the intramurals that Banneker offers. And if I find that I am in need of exercise, I take a little time out at home to do so. ERICKA STEARNS Banneker

To renew the interest of students in school events, we must first renew their interest in the classroom. Many students are made to feel inadequate in the classroom by their teachers and peers. The last thing these students want is to spend their time on school-sponsored events.

School spirit comes from feeling that you are a part of the school and have something to contribute. Unfortunately, many students do not feel this way. As the high absenteeism and drop-out rates illustrate, there is not enough to hold many students in the classroom, let alone to school-sponsored events.

To improve school spirit, make every student feel a part of the school. This should start in the classroom. KATHERINE WAYMAN Wilson

My school spirit varies. Sometimes I support my school and sometimes I do not. I think that this is negative and I am trying to improve by going to more games, and by not losing my school spirit if we are defeated.

Some of my colleagues do not attend events because they are not optimistic -- they don't think the events will be interesting -- but how do they know if they don't attend?

To increase student participation, students should be involved in planning, implementing and evaluating all school activities, academic and extracurricular. RODNEY HUDGENS Penn Center/McKinley

The school spirit at Anacostia has disappeared over the past few years. The cause can be laid directly at the feet of the news media and the public officials. They have given our high school and our parks low ranking for years. They have told our parents and us, all of our lives, how bad Anacostia is. Everything said is negative. After hearing this for so long, you begin to believe it. So, in school you really dig in, so that you can get out of Anacostia High and the Anacostia area.

It is a great task to try to learn pride in a place that you have been told is very bad. However, during the past year, a small but swell thing has begun with help from some special folks: school board members, the Elder Sports Management and Instructional Institute and our teachers. The students at Anacostia are taking pride in themselves, in the band, the sports teams, and in our neighborhood. We are learning to be proud of who we are and where we come from. Hopefully, with the continued support of these adults, our school spirit will continue to grow. ORLANDO PICKENS Anacostia

The level of school spirit at Georgetown Visitation is very high and the majority of students participate in school sponsored events.

At Visitation, we have several events such as {intramural} Gold vs. White games, regular sports events, a marshmallow roast and a talent show, which create a festive atmosphere and a special camaraderie between teammates and partners.

Several reasons why these events are so popular are that these activities appeal to a wide variety of interests, including sports, dance, drama, singing and social relationships and they create a competitive atmosphere which is an attractive quality to high school students.

Several events have mandatory attendance to promote school spirit; however, most Visitation students have a positive attitude towards the school and enjoy supporting school-sponsored events. ERIN KANE Georgetown Visitation

School spirit is no problem here at Spingarn S.T.A.Y. This alternative school has spirit and shows it constantly. I would rate it highly. Spirit is in our name: School To Aid Youth.

In living up to its name, our school does more than just give teenagers a second chance. It makes us feel like we're a part of something positive; a sense of belonging. For young people, that sense of value and worth is much like a security blanket.

We have games and dances and these activities are well attended. I believe our school spirit comes from the leadership of our principal and the staff.

The staff participated in an educational retreat. The purpose of the retreat was for professional growth and to discuss ways of making our school better. {Because of this,} School spirit is alive and well at Spingarn S.T.A.Y. ROBIN BRABHAM Spingarn S.T.A.Y.

School spirit is not a thing of the past. Over the years it seems to have declined in intensity, but school spirit is "alive and kicking."

A student today has many more responsibilities than his counterpart of the past. He has to be involved in extracurricular activities, has to complete projects and other assignments and has to hold down a part-time job. Because of such a demanding schedule, a student has little time to attend ballgames and other activities.

When a student has a demanding schedule, he has to suffer the realities of separation from activities relating to school spirit.

I believe that if activities took place at school during school hours there would be more spirit. Many more students would be able to attend because there would be no change in their demanding schedule. Students, in this way, would have more opportunities to experience how it feels to have school spirit. DENNIS POWELL Roosevelt

I am constantly confronted with the topic of school spirit. The problem at my school doesn't seem to be one of not having school spirit, it is the manner in which the "spirited activities" are carried out. I find many of the the "spirit boosting" activities to be rather unappealing. And, since the activities fail to appeal to the student body as a whole, they fail to attract attendance.

Since I attend an all-girls school, we don't break our necks to see the fine, all-met quarterback out making the play on the football field. Instead, a few of your close friends (if you make the team and if they don't have a sport themselves) come and cheer you on as you strive to score the winning goal on the field hockey or soccer fields.

Another problem is the school dances. The dances that were once given by this school reflected the musical preference of the majority. Often this musical preference failed to appeal to me and made me less interested in attending.

Our school aims to be more spirited, but I feel there is a problem in the execution. If the ones who were enforcing school spirit were spirited in their presentations, then that would have an effect on the school spirit of today. RAKECIA WHITAKER National Cathedral "Speak Out" Topic for November 12:

Many colleges and universities strongly emphasize Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) test results when selecting students for admission. Are these test scores an accurate measure of a student's learning potential? What are some other means educators could use to measure a student's learning abilities?

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 is Monday, Nov. 2.