Last year, when I decided to run for school president, there were many issues I wanted to change about this school. The main thing I wanted to improve was our school spirit which I simply define as a characteristic in someone who cares about other students’ interests in a school. Many people throughout my time at Ridgewood High School have talked about the lack of school spirit we have compared to other schools, such as Ramapo and Paramus. We recently played Paramus in football, and their student section had a lot of more enthusiastic fans. They filled a whole section of the bleachers, painted their bodies, and were loud the entire game, and as someone on the field, it made a notable difference in the atmosphere. During our football games, the fan section is not nearly as full. This is disappointing considering RHS has nearly 700 more students than Paramus High School. One of the easiest and most common ways to demonstrate school spirit is through attending home sporting events. I use football as one example because at every game I like to think my being there is showing the pride I have for my school. But, of course, school spirit is not limited to football games, or even sports at all.
A big determinant of school spirit is how many students are willing to support each other in their own various activities. Having a large student section at a football game is cool, but what really matters is how invested we are in each others’ activities– whether that means attending a New Players show, showing up to a band car wash, or cheering on friends at a swim meet– there are so many ways to show your spirit. It’s not just about whether or not someone loves Ridgewood High School; most importantly, school spirit is shown if by caring about fellow students and supporting them in their interests. If we all started acting on this idea our school spirit would improve tremendously. It’s time our spirit fits the size of our school, and it will take the dedication of each student to contribute to the betterment of RHS. Of course, this transition will not occur overnight. This may take a few classes, but I am confident that this can be the year in which we initiate the change that will get our school on the right track.
The lack of spirit has been an issue throughout my high school career, and I think it’s time that we finally face it–together, as a school. Why not make this the year to set the standard for school spirit? Ridgewood High School is home to so many incredibly talented artists, athletes, musicians, actors, and scholars; it’s time we show them just how much we appreciate their skills, and how we are all proud to be a part of this community that is RHS. I hope that students will begin to see how important it is to take pride in our school and begin to make the necessary changes to achieve the level of school spirit that we’re capable of reaching.
Images: Jack Simpson, Justine Umali