School Spirit=Happy Students
What do you remember about school? Chances are the school spirit is something that stands out as a great memory. The National Federation of State High School Associations finds that “students in a school with “school spirit” perform better academically, are more engaged in social and civic matters, and are happier in general than their less-spirited peers.”
School spirit involves three aspects—the pride a student feels in his/her school, the inclination to be intentionally involved in encouraging other students to be active in school events, and the likelihood of returning to the school after graduation. All three of these components are positive and productive traits for a school to possess, so how do you acquire them?
There seems to be a strong corollary between student success and school spirit as students tend to be more involved with the various activities when they are doing well. They want the “School Experience,” and they encourage others to want it, too.
Characteristics of Schools That Promote Spirit
- Students are rewarded for academic performance.
- The faculty are engaged with the students and school activities.
- Administrators and staff promote and attend school activities.
- There are multiple clubs and organizations that provide an opportunity for all students to get involved and participate in activities.
- School-wide social events are frequent and involve not only the students but the entire family.
- Graduation is a special event, with announcements and a commemorative yearbook.
Activities that Promote School Spirit
- Consider forming a “FANS Club,” or a Following Activities ‘N Sports Club, for anyone to join. This club is unique in that the sole purpose is to go to all the different sporting events to support and cheer on classmates. Gillian Horn writes that at her school the FANS club decided to try a Silent Night for the Friday basketball game against its rival team. She remembers that “all FANS in the crowd remained dead silent until the eighth point was scored, and then, we went crazy. I’m talking losing-your-voice and falling-off-bleachers crazy.” The excitement and energy were off the charts.
- Have a Penny War where each class collects pennies for one week. The class which collects the most pennies get to smash a pie in the principal’s face or some activity related to that. The money can go to a chosen charity with some left over for a small party for the students.
- Celebrate a service tradition of cleaning up the school grounds, or a canned food drive, or a walkathon. Gathering together to serve others is a way to feel connected and involved with the community.
- Sell tickets to have a group sing Happy Birthday to a special friend.
- Implement Tiki Tuesday and encourage everyone to wear Hawaiian shirts and hand out leis.
School spirit is critical to the environment of any school since it sets the tone for various aspects of school events and especially for the students. Students want to be proud of their school and when they are, they are more engaged and happy. And, happy students are what we all want!