School Spirit

        This school year, students around the campus are seeking to increase school spirit. School spirit gives life to the campus and to the daily routines of school. It lets us connect with others, show our pride for our school and our classmates, and create community. Not only can school spirit bring a community together, but it can make time on campus even more enjoyable. The first place to look for school spirit would commonly be to turn all eyes towards sporting events, especially the crowds that attend the games.

        “Every team at Westminster wants to know they are supported by their peers,” says senior wildcat captain Adelaide Burrows. “School spirit forms a strong connection when everyone strives towards a common goal; when we lose, we lose together and keep working, and when we win the joy flows through the whole school.” This unity is inspiring to see, but is only attainable if students give their time and attention to their fellow classmates as they rally on the field or on the court.

        “It makes a team so much more confident when they know they have the students behind them supporting them. I honestly believe an engaged, excited student section can affect how a team plays and the outcome of the game,” says senior football cheer captain Evie Rearden. Students may attend select events, but engagement in all sporting events help the different teams thrive. While some sporting events may not be as popular to attend, due to the levels of school work on school days, travel distance to playing locations, or lack of other students attending, it benefits students to bond with classmates and to spend time away from the classroom and textbooks; Westminster is not only about growth in the academics, but the growth in individuals and the community as a whole.

        One way in which students have taken the matter of school spirit, in regards to sports, into their own hands is by using social media to their advantage to raise awareness for school sports. Recently, the idea of an Instagram account announcing school sports was thought of among high schoolers who wanted to increase school spirit at sporting events. “The purpose of the account is to raise awareness for Westminster sports, and not just football,” says senior Caroline Clark. “We want to keep fans engaged and reward people who attend sporting events. Our school could definitely use some more school spirit, and so we thought putting all of the announcements on one platform that many students are engaged in daily, like Instagram, would keep people in the loop and interested.” Anyone can follow the account, @westminsterfans, on Instagram to say updated on school sporting events. A social media account, especially made to raise awareness and inform others, is only successful if those who follow it engage on the posts, and take in its content; not merely scrolling past without considering what it has to say.

        Outside of the gym, students in extracurriculars from other areas of the school, like the arts, appreciate support from the community just as much as athletes in the athletic program. “It may not be as physically challenging as sports, but we spend a lot of time and effort to perfect our work and create something meaningful,” says junior AP visual art student Max Graves. The art students work tucked away in the basement of Broyles, which makes the arts easier to forget. “It’s really gratifying when people come to view our work in exhibits just as if they were there to see a team’s hard work from practice put into action.” As an AP Art Student, Graves finds it especially exciting when students come to see the AP Art show after the artist have worked for a whole semester on 12 pieces that they finally get to show off.

        “For general community spirit, supporting extracurricular activities helps create confidence, which is key to success in nearly everything,” says Graves. “It makes your hard work feel like it has some sort of ultimatum when people come support you and commend you on the results.” Clearly, those results range from a finished musical production, an art show, a sports game where a team works well together, or even an individual sport where a player feels they played well. “On the whole, supporting our community creates school spirit, which strengthens Westminster and helps define our experiences during our time here,” Graves concludes.

        Surrounding all extracurricular activities, from the fields to the stage, student government has been working diligently to increase school spirit among their classmates.

        “One of the things we are working on implementing for this school year that I am excited for is a new “team points” system,” says eleventh grade class officer Virginia Bailey. The goal of the system is to have friendly competition between students where individuals can earn points for their team by showing up to sporting events, theater performances, and academic competitions. At the end of the year student government will tally up the points and declare the winning team.

        “Overall, we hope to boost the attendance at extracurricular wildcat events,” says Bailey. With new tactics delivered by student government on the horizons, old ones still remain in place, like Homecoming Week. “We recognize that homecoming is important to the student body,” says Bailey, which is why this year student government is working around the challenges of homecoming week falling on fall break and the PSAT. These factors mean there is only one full day of school for the whole upper school that week. To work around this, student government is working towards extending homecoming.

        “We have also revamped the ‘Fun Friday’ with some surprises for the upper school as well,” says Bailey. “Our goal is the get our student body more engaged and excited about Westminster and hopefully offer much needed and very fun breaks to the constant rush of school rigor. We can’t wait for a great school year and all of the wildcat spirit!” While efforts are being made by some enthusiastic students, it is up to the entire student body, and even beyond to families and faculty, to give Westminster a level of school spirit that reaches beyond the 8:30-3:00 school day, and into a more exciting and fulfilling school experience.