A school is a special community of individuals who come together for nine months out of the year. This is a place where students, teachers, administrators and parents alike interact with one another within the safe confines of an academic institution. This can be either the greatest nine months of a student's life, where time flies by, or it can be boring and mundane to the point that the clock can't seem to turn over fast enough. The difference is school spirit. People are either proud of their school or they aren't. It is as simple as that. To achieve and keep a special sense of pride the entire year may seem difficult on the surface, but it can be done. Here are some great ways to promote and retain school spirit all year round.
Foster a Spirit of Unity
The common thread of a school environment is the community itself. Students, parents, and teachers can rally behind common causes. This includes athletic teams, clubs, civic organizations, the arts, and so much more. When students have something in common and a focus to direct their energy upon, school spirit can be activated. Fostering this spirit of unity is a great way to promote this idea year round. Consider the school football team. Friday nights can become a gathering point for students to rally behind their team and cheer them onto victory. At the same time, those fall evenings can become quite brisk at times. Having stadium blankets that promote a sense of spirit in the hometown team is a great way to achieve this. Looking around the stadium to see hundreds of supports will increase the pride that the players have, and it will give off these feeling that everyone is in this together. That is the essence of school spirit.
With more and more schools struggling with limited budgets, students and parents can rally behind school programs and show their support via a variety of fundraising efforts. From elementary school students selling candy and gift baskets to support band and art programs, to high school students evolving to school spirit stadium blankets to help raise need funds for a variety of programs, these efforts do not go in vein. Once again, this activity serves to promote school spirit and foster a strong sense of unity. They are effective at achieving that spirit of community and schools are known for, yet all too often fall short of the mark on today.
Community Events Rock
One way to further enhance school spirit is to develop a calendar of events where everyone comes together outside of school hours to have fun and socialize. This is a way to get parents to meet other parents, for students to be more free to be themselves, and for everyone to have a great time all the while. A great way begin the year, for example, is to have a back to school cookout. This is an excellent way to allow everyone in the school to socialize with one another in a friendly environment. This is especially helpful for new families to the school as they transition to a new situation. For smaller schools in remote areas, this can be opened up to the entire community in order to foster the attitude that educating young people is the responsibility of everyone, not just a few teachers at the school. This is a fundamental premise that the National Educational Association brings to the table.
Another great event that can bring together the entire school community is a movie night. This can be a quarterly event and different grades can take turns choosing the film. If the weather is nice, an outdoor event is in the cards. Families can bring their own blankets, or some lawn chairs, and enjoy. This can also be a great fundraising event where concessions are sold for a small fee. If the weather is cold, just turn to the gym or auditorium for the festivities.
Make Those T-Shirts
Do not just put any old school t-shirt out there. Instead, activate your school spirit by involving the entire community in choosing a new design. This can be used to promote the school, athletic department, band, or any of a number of different aspects of the entire academic community. This is definitely a way get everyone involved and show off their school colors, both in class and outside of it.
Along those same lines would be to adopt a sister school. You can exchange shirts and ideas with the other school. Hosting joint events is a great way for student's to show off what they have, while learning from another school environment as well. Highlighting what is going on in the school is a great to do this, as is writing letters back and forth to the other school.
These are just a few of the many ways to activate that school spirit that will make the year more enjoyable and memorable. Remember that school spirit is what motivates young people to be proud of who they are and to excel in all that they do. By fostering this sense of spirit and unity, students will feel more a part of the entire academic environment and will be proud of their local community as well. It is a great way to promote civic involvement, keep attendance up, and leads to a more productive citizenry as a whole.