Every day I walk into school at 6:45 in the morning, desperate to get into my first period so the day can begin. Despite my drowsy mood, littered on the walls are colored posters I can’t ignore.
They encourage school spirit and participation in spirit days, one of the most widely used methods to bring the community closer together. The subject makes me wonder, how many people actually participate in these spirit days?
In many schools, spirit days are used to provide a fun opportunity for the students to come together as one. However, it appears that while half of the student body is lit up in colors, participating in every spirit day, the other half stands around grumbling to themselves.
From my experience, this group of grumbling students consists of the younger classes. There may be a reason as to why so many of these young students outright refuse to participate in spirit days. It has to do with their peers and the judgment that could come afterward as a result of their participation. The incoming freshmen to Mountlake Terrace are being judged by each other, but the goal for them all is to fit in as a high schooler.
Freshmen resent the idea of spirit days because they believe they will be judged by their peers for being a “loser.” Our society is strange in terms of peer judgment, especially at school. Judgment from peers is often followed by embarrassment and a feeling of detachment from the community.
ASB Public Relations Officer Vivian Tran says she believes spirit days are among the most important displays of school pride and community.
“These days we get to dress up and show pride and spirit throughout the school. It’s really fun and engaging for students to have fun dressing up and to wear fun costumes, shirts, patterns and more throughout the week,” Tran said.
Tran holds the mindset I believe everyone should have about spirit days. It’s a fun opportunity and something that the students should take full advantage of.
However, I don’t believe the system that is being used to promote school spirit is working for the younger generations coming into MTHS. This method doesn’t work because not enough people participate, thus defeating the purpose. If few people are participating in the spirit days, is it really bringing the student body together?
I would love to participate in more of these spirit days, but the judgment is harsh to its victims and some people don’t have the ability to withstand the pressure.
I feel like spirit days would be more effective if the students could choose the themes for each spirit week. That way, the students are less likely to choose themes that others would feel uncomfortable participating in, ultimately resulting in greater participation among students of all classes.
Examples of themes that will likely have higher participation rates include wearing different colors, mismatch, seasonal clothing and themes that are toned down a bit from wacky hair day, or other days that may be a little too flashy, especially for students who are new to the school.
The MTHS official Instagram page published a story in late September, asking for suggestions for future spirit days. I was thrilled to see this and I hope this can be one of the first steps to increase student input in the selection of spirit days, and thus spirit day participation.
The upperclassmen at MTHS always influence the next years of students to come, so let us welcome the new classes just like seniors and juniors have influenced us this year! Go Hawks!