School spirit is dead

Students at Mason High School aren’t as enthusiastic or spirited as outsiders might believe. Pep rallies thunder with our screams and hallways burst with green and white, but our normal actions do not reflect much school spirit.

When the Comet planners arrived weeks late, I did not switch my assignments to the shiny new book. I continue to use my Tiger planner without a second thought that it was supposed to have a comet. Glancing at students as they jot down their work, I notice that many of them haven’t switched planners either. While the newer planners may have a nicer cover and the year’s sports schedule, they’re both planners.

Last year, as I waited to be released from the normal routine to the homecoming pep rally, murmurs of early dismissal plans were prevalent. To some, it seemed silly to sit in the crowded Middle School auditorium for two hours when they could be participating in something they truly enjoyed (or just getting homework out of the way). Many students were excused from the remainder of school, leaving the rest of us to file into the plastic bleachers.

As I watched students lobbing dodge balls heavily at each other a couple of weeks ago, I wished that I was doing something else. I kept making lists in my head of what I could be doing–reading for history, writing papers, sleeping, and a number of other tasks crying out for my attention.

This year, attempting to foil plans of possible skipping, the administration changed the assembly schedule: the rally was conducted in the middle of the school day. Some still managed to evade the peppiness, but I couldn’t bring myself to miss my last two classes. The pep rallies aresupposed to get us excited about the Comets and bring us together corporately, but we often view them as merely a relief from class.

“Classes are 40 minutes on Friday,” my English teacher told us before the festivities occurred two weeks ago. Immediately I thought shorter classes equals less learning, since my brain likes a break every so often from the piles of homework and mounds of tests I receive daily. Because I was enthused about my brief respite, not an ounce of me stopped to consider why hundreds of students were packed into the arena in the first place: school spirit.

Devised for the purpose of creating a community of spirit is, of course, Spirit Week. Plenty of kids participate in the entertaining dose of creativity, wearing hilarious costumes, wigs, etc. that I love to gawk and laugh at while I maneuver the halls. But, it is more than an excuse for us to dress in outrageous outfits; after all, you don’t have to be spirited to adorn yourself in the garb of Flavor Flav or McLovin.

One particular day of Spirit Week, “Spirit Day,” is attributed to the homecoming football game, which is attended by a large portion of the school. Attendance at other games, according to various peers of mine, is sparse. Sure, there are those like me who don’t enjoy watching sports; but, many still go to the games to socialize. Let’s appreciate that games and assemblies are created for us to let loose and have fun.

I must admit, I find myself at the end of lunch wanting to teasingly shout, “Go Oak Hills!” in Mr. Keeton’s microphone. A joke like that would probably make a few students angry, but the majority that heard it would possibly laugh. I see school events as a time merely for talking, laughing, and having fun–things not related to showing school spirit.

Published in The Chronicle (page 2) on October 26, 2007.


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