What’s Up With School Spirit?

Nicole Markus and Jacob Grindstaff

After homecoming, we noticed a trend. Each day, less and less students wore the spirited outfits designated to boost school pride. While, of course, no one is required to dress up, it does create a special atmosphere around the school when all you can see in school is seas of blue and white for school spirit day, clashes between red, orange, yellow and purple for class color day, and dozens of costumes for the character days. School spirit makes school more enjoyable, and creates excitement for special events like homecoming, and yet, only a select few decide to dress up.

At events like football and basketball games, attendance from the student body remains significantly low. Hardly anyone attends the games, even when they are at Palmetto. The student section there largely consists of siblings and friends of the players. Within movies and TV shows depicting the high school years, attendance at these games remains one of the most important and fun aspects of high school. However, even when Palmetto students do take the time to come out, the relatively empty student section quickly dampens the mood. If everyone came out to the games, the energy would be undeniable. 

The empty bleachers are strong reminders of the weak sense of school spirit that exists around Palmetto for the majority of the school year. Aside from homecoming game, many students remain largely uninterested in attending such school-related events. 

So, why is school spirit so low? For one, many students do not feel they have time to plan elaborate outfits or attend countless sports games. Palmetto students are constantly subject to hours of homework each night, the stress that comes with studying for multiple quizzes, exams and tests per week and the time suck that comes from trying to attend every club and honor society meeting. If the choice came between staying up until midnight planning a costume or attending a football game, most students would choose to get the much-needed couple of extra hours of sleep. We do not get enough as it is.

According to a study conducted by the National Federation of State High School’s Association, 1500 students were interviewed regarding the subject of school spirit, their academics, activities and involvement in the community. The study found that high school students were involved in an average of eight extracurricular activities. This is on top of the homework, responsibilities at home and possible jobs that students have to concern themselves over with as well, leaving many students feeling as though school spirit should not act as a concern for them. 

However, the same study found multiple instances where there were strong positive correlations between school spirit and high achievement. Although some argue that school spirit and anything related to it completely disinterests them, it is important to keep in mind that there exists more than one way to show your school pride: through student government, actively attending school-sponsored games and events, being involved in the school’s yearbook or newspaper and by joining after-school clubs or sports. 

School spirit is a bandwagon thing. Many feel uncomfortable all decked out in an elaborate costume when nobody else is, or sitting alone with a couple of friends in a student section. When everybody starts making it more of a normal thing, or a tradition to go out to certain games, others will quickly follow suit. When school spirit is normalized, it will be more fun for everybody involved.

To everyone debating whether to dress up for a character day, or attend that sports game, do it. When we look back at our high school days, we will not remember each individual assignment that passes the long nights, or the countless hours of homework we completed. What we will remember, however, is the cheers chanted at games, the group outfits designed between friend groups and the school events attended. Go out, have fun, you are only in high school once after all.