Whether it be pep rallies, football games, or spirit weeks, Ridgewood High School offers many ways to get involved in school spirit. Participating in school-spirited activities makes people feel included, even if they’re not on the field. Almost every football game this past season had a theme for students who were watching the game. USA, pinkout, and blackout themes are common and make everyone feel like they’re a part of the team. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules and lots of responsibilities, many students can’t find the time to participate and school spirit takes a backseat. This past football season, the majority of the students’ section was not dressed in unified spirit-wear. Individuals who attempted to show school spirit with eye-black or a neon pink shirt reported feeling out of place and even embarrassed. School spirit is supposed to bring the student body together, not make people who do participate feel like outliers. Take into account the most famous high school movie series of all time: High School Musical. Not once did any of the characters falter in their Wildcat pride, whether it be during the championship basketball game against the West High Knights or the scholastic decathlon.
Although it is important to remember that not everyone’s schedule can accommodate going to Party City the night before Alien-Cowboy Wednesday, lots of people simply don’t want to partake in spirit activities. In a recent survey, 58% of participants voted that they would take part in the spirit week of February 12, and 42% voted that they wouldn’t. For spirit days as normal as ‘Maroon Monday’ and ‘Color Wars Thursday’, it is a little surprising how many students admitted to not even planning to participate. The themes do not stray far from what most students normally wear to school; all the school is asking is that students join together as a community to have some fun and change up the regular school week.
As students get older, spirit weeks become more and more trivial. In elementary school, spirit week was the highlight of the year. In middle school, whichever grade didn’t win claimed it was rigged until they did win. But in high school, lots of students, especially juniors and seniors, are preoccupied with thinking about standardized tests scores and where to go to college, and are definitely not worrying about spirit week like they might have in middle school. Since underclassmen usually look up to juniors and seniors, the un-spirited culture sets in. However, spirit week can, and should, be a time for stressed students to take a step back from school work and have fun getting involved in school spirit.
Graphics: Will Gagan