As members of the community filed into Canons Park on November 11, there was a noticeable scrawniness to the crowd. The varsity girls soccer team was set to play ACS Cobham in the International School Sports Tournament semifinals. The school day was cut short so the entire High School could attend. However, in the hour before students were due to travel to Canons Park, the attendance office received an almost record number of emails describing “appointments” or other excuses for absence. In fact, the day as a whole had a similar level of attendance to the day before a break.
In what was meant to be an event for the student body to support peers, there was a lack of interest and cohesion amongst students. It seemed like less than half of High School students attended this mandatory event, even though the school day was cut short in order to ensure that they were not forced to be at Canons Park outside of school hours. Students would not have skipped had it been a regular school day, speaking volumes about the lack of importance we place on school spirit as a high school.
As a community, we should never have allowed our school spirit to reach such a low point. The administration should not have to force students to go to Canons: We should have the initiative to go and support our peers. This match is one of countless examples of a distinct lack of support students have for one another. Not only is there a severe absence of peer-to-peer encouragement, but also a lack of spirit towards our school. Whether it be at athletic events, spirit days, or any other functions, we, as a student body should support ASL and do so proudly. Rather than viewing school events as obligations, we ought to view them as ways to unite as a community, supporting one another in our various endeavors.
With all the stresses that each high schooler feels, it is understandably difficult to attend every game, play, or event. However, school spirit goes beyond attendance. It is also a mentality that lacks amongst our student body.
The lack of spirit in our High School is two fold, stemming from indifference among the student body, but also the nature of our school’s academics.
With the rigor of our curriculum comes a competitive undercurrent amid the student body. This can spill over and affect our attitudes towards our peers’ extracurricular endeavors. While it’s certainly not the case with all students, we believe the competition bred within our school tears at the fabric of a supportive student community. The successes of our peers has become something that causes anxiety instead of a sense of pride.
We attend a school where no two students have identical passions, and we all participate in a range of different activities. We need to start acknowledging our peers and support them. Whether a student places well at a cross country race or a math competition, they are representing ASL. Anytime a student from our school succeeds, we should feel as though we are part of that success as a member of the ASL community. Additionally, students should feel proud to represent ASL and support peers in all activities, not just athletics.
The perception of school spirit is that it is something only present at American high schools and equates to attending sports matches. However, as an Editorial Board, we believe that it should include but also extend beyond athletics at this school.
Be it taking the time to attend a Late Cafe performance, attending the school play or following the Griffins on Twitter, we must cultivate a wider interest in what our peers are accomplishing and acknowledge their achievements.
As a high school community we are defined by our spirit. This Editorial Board takes issue with the lack of passion and enthusiasm that currently exists within the High School. Principal Jack Phillips stated in his opening address to the school this year that the community is stronger today than it was when he first entered the High School. In light of the absence of school spirit, we question the validity of this statement.
As an Editorial Board, it was easy for us to identify this issue, but we acknowledge that perhaps there is no straight forward solution. School spirit is not something we can just create, nor can we realistically implement new directives to organically grow a supportive community.
It’s a choice we all make as individuals: To look outward instead of inward.
Next time the basketball teams play at home, go watch a game. Next time the visual arts classes hold an exhibition, walk over to the art building and take in their creations. Next time Jambalaya publishes a new issue, commend your peers on their magazine. Take time to appreciate the dedication and work of your peers, in all aspects of the High School.