Why is there a Lack of School Spirit?


Middle school students who dressed up for Monster U Day stand out against a a wall of students who chose not to participate.

Damianna Miolla and Madison Barrass

Picture this: students are filing inside of the gymnasium for the Homecoming pep rally, but it seems to be lacking one thing – school spirit. According to www.nfhs.org, “ ‘School spirit’ involves a student’s pride in his or her school, a student’s propensity to get other students to be active in school events, and a student’s plans to return to his or her school for special events after graduation.” If school spirit has so many perks, then why are students not participating in spirit week and lack spirit in general?

Students Have A Lot On Their Plate Already

To say students already have a lot going on in and outside of school is a pathetic understatement to the reality of how busy students really are. As expectations continue to rise, student’s performance, attendance, and participation must as well. Based on a study by Varsity Brands specifically Harris Poll, and according to www.nfhs.org, “…[the study] involved about 1,500 individuals who were asked about school pride, academics, self-esteem, and community involvement…The survey indicated that during the 2013-2014 school year, high school students were involved in an average of eight extra curricular activities..,” meaning that on top of numerous hours of school, homework, extra curricular activities, social life, family life, chores, and time for themselves, student schedules are already likely to be unbalanced, and students may not have time to think about spirit week or school spirit in general.

Students May Not See The Benefits of School Spirit

Cartersville Patch states, “This lack of involvement [in school spirit] and initiative often leads to dissent and hard feelings among the students and their peers.” However, believe it or not, participating in spirit week and having school spirit can benefit students. Www.nfhs.org quotes a principal, “‘If they are not doing well in school, they are not involved in athletics or many of the activities. Additionally, they do not take personal responsibility for not doing well and tend to blame the school, or other factors. They will state ‘they do not care’.”

Varsity Brands goes on to state using the same study by Harris Poll, “Students with higher levels of school spirit perform better academically, are more civically engaged, and are happier in general than their less spirited peers, according to research released…by Varsity Brands.” In other words, students who are involved with school pride typically are brighter and more well-rounded because of their school spirit.

Adding an Incentive

According to Ms.Duval, an eighth grade English teacher at Somerset, “ I have noticed that students have a mild [amount of] school spirit.” To get more students to have school spirit, it may be ideal to add an incentive. Students do not always want to do something if they are not going to gain anything from it. They also may not be interested in the themes of spirit week. When asked about how to increase student participation in spirit week, one Somerset student replied, “ By talking to the kids about what they want to do.”

If the student body, as a whole, got to vote on the themes for spirit week a lot more students would be interested. The student officers could come up with a list of different themes and the student body can vote on their top five favorite themes. The five themes with the most votes would take place during spirit week, for example. By allowing the students to choose, they would be more likely to participate because they are receiving what they want.

There could also be a competition between the grades for which grade dresses out the most. Students would be more likely to go all out for spirit if they knew that could have a chance at winning a competition.

Just one of these examples alone could increase school spirit.

How it Affects Student Body as a Whole

A student’s school spirit has a big effect on the student body. As stated by a principal and www.nfhs.org , “…school spirit equates to a ‘sense of community with students, parents, teachers and administrators working together with a common purpose and with activities for all segments of the school population.” When students have school spirit, it brings them closer with their classmates and their school. Without school spirit, there is a disconnect between the student body and everyone else involved in the education community.

Spirit and spirit week is a way to show pride in school. Even if there are ways to tweak our spirit week, and despite students having a lot of activities going on, school spirit has many benefits and affects the school community as a whole. Spirit week is a way to show off the pride students have for their school. Www.nfhs.org says , “Principals overwhelmingly believe it is important that they personally build school spirit at their school (89%) and that higher levels of school spirit is tied to higher student achievement.”