The Progression of School Spirit

Saahithi Gaddipati, Copy Editor

When you think of high school, what comes to mind? Is it an endless hallway crammed with dreary lockers? Maybe you picture a roaring student body at a football game, faces painted with school colors. Maybe you just see a normal classroom, with students rushing in as the bell rings. The stark contrast between various visuals can be summed up to one factor: school spirit. 

 The perception of school spirit varies slightly from person to person, each holding their own value of it. Sophomore Esha Colluru says, “School spirit is determined by how much someone cares for their school and chooses to participate in activities surrounding it.” This statement touches on why both students and staff put such an emphasis on school spirit – it creates a more welcoming environment, as well as encourages increased participation in academics; two factors that lead to a more successful school. The positive effects of school spirit are further proven in a study by Varsity Brands, which states, “The majority of principals report that compared to other students, those with a great deal of school spirit are more confident (91%), are more likely to be leaders (90%), are happier (88%), are more active in their communities (87%), and are more fulfilled (73%).” Members of activities such as band, cheer, and various clubs are often able to form connections through their activities, increasing their school spirit. In turn changing that into a cycle and wanting to get even more involved in their communities. 

 The impact of school spirit is clear, and introduces the question, “How does a school create such an environment?” Some of the most noticeable spirit-inducing events are traditional high school events, such as homecoming and prom,which the Issaquah High School Associated Student Body (ASB) plans. Junior Ria Patil explains how these events make her feel, stating, “They make me excited. I feel closer to my peers because we bond over the same things, like an event, game, or activity.” 

 While homecoming, prom, and football games may be some of the most popular events, they certainly are not the only ones, ASB plans a variety of activities. Senior Olivia Marbut, a member of ASB, provides insight into how events are planned, saying, “We do what’s relevant. Sometimes we send out surveys. We ask our friends. I know that sometimes when we make posters, we make them pop culture relevant, so they grab students’ attention and are talked about more.” In the past, some events that ASB has scheduled include Waffle Wednesday and a lip-sync battle. Marbut elaborates, “Oftentimes, people do not come to newer events such as the lip-sync battle. It’s all about built-up hype. A lot of people don’t go because they do not know what to expect.” 

 It is not just elaborately planned events that build up school spirit – simple acts of kindness can as well. Freshman Gage Ultisch elaborates, “When I get dropped off, I love it when those people  hold the door open and there is music playing near the school as you walk in. It keeps it really lively and really fun.” Acts such as these add to the community aspect of school, helping everyone feel connected and cared for. Colluru elaborates on the benefits of this, stating, “It just adds to the social aspect of it…You can find good things about the school and won’t constantly berate it.” The sociality of school, especially as schools return to their first year fully back in person is an important concept, allowing them the chance to socialize, something that was completely obstructed by last year’s online learning system. Patil explains, stating, “Last year, we didn’t have the chance to come together because we’re literally separated. We couldn’t focus on common things, and we were scattered… I think being in school less and being able to interact less with people has definitely impacted my school spirit, because if I was there for all three years, I’d get to know people and teams better.” Patil’s last point touches on something interesting – the fact that each grade level had spent significantly less time physically attending the high school that they would have otherwise. For a junior such as Patil, the last full year in person was during eighth grade, with a couple months of freshman year, and a majority of sophomore year spent online. Imaginably, this would have consequences on school spirit. 

However, coming back in person has opened up new possibilities to socializing and created new options for student involvement, such as attending clubs and other events in person. Marbut reveals some upcoming plans from ASB, saying, “We have Connection Week coming up, which is basically a week filled with engaging events.” School spirit is an essential part of education, and it encourages students to get involved in their schools and make the most out of their high school journey.