Westside High School’s Struggle With School Spirit
Through school spirit, students can be a part of something exciting and unique.
There is a difference between students feeling they are simply part of a school and feeling being at “my” school. School spirit is essential for an educational institution to have. Westside High School has been through some rough times, but that never stopped these Wolves.
Students had a few problems with attending school games, some of which were:
- Too busy with academic requirements
- Late game hours
- No real motivation to attend
One of the main concerns and problems students had was that they felt unmotivated to show up to school games, mainly because of distance. All games against other schools are away games (they are at other school’s stadiums).
I spoke to a few student athletes and they mentioned it was hard to look over to the sidelines and see little to no people showing Wolves support.
“We try to get people for our games”, varsity volleyball player Katlyn Culpper said. “Our school spirit is not that strong. It’s really hard, it’s like people don’t really want to show school spirit at all sometimes”.
Even though WSHS has been particularly successful at sports, people still failed to show up to games even when sport teams were popular.
“I believe distance is a problem”, said student Sebastian Orrego. “People don’t really want to waste gas money to go to places that they are only going to go once or alone”.
Realization of a Problem
When the school noticed a decline in students supporting their fellow classmates, they started to provide buses for free. These buses would take them to the games and bring them back to the school as well.
“We’ve personally offered buses and credit appeal hours” said Coach Mason- Director of Athletics. “Getting the kids out there and involved is imperative in increasing school spirit”.
Coach Mason also mentioned that while it was important to have students come to games and show spirit, he believes it was also important for student athletes to fear the opposing team’s full support from the benches. He believes that this would make the athletes emotionally stronger.
“They need to feel that pressure coming from being booed and having a whole crowd against you”, Coach Mason mentioned. “Every single professional athlete knows this feeling well”.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, when a lot of the student body is involved in events on and off campus, it demonstrates a passion that can’t really be measured and is somewhat contagious. Having school spirit maintains students interested in academics and life outside of it as well.
Taking it Further
While extra credit, free food, and bus rides worked, there was desire for a bigger reach from the school. By showing videos of the sports team that included highlights, good times and a ton of school spirit, it pushed even more students to go out there and show Wolves support.
I was lucky enough to work with the school’s soccer team. I am currently working on a full feature length video project that will be shown at the end of the school year.
These videos were shown during lunch hours and morning announcements.
It helped the teams were doing well, but a combination of all the extras steps taken to push more school spirit is what ultimately got students to have a sense of pride in their school and attend more events.
These extracurricular sport activities at Westside brought students closer to together. It brought a sense of pride to student for being a part of the school.
“It took us a great deal of work between the teachers, the staff and administrators to find activities and ways to bring students into that collective family”, said Ms. Edith Gonzalez — Dean of Students.
Moving forward, Westside High School will continue to encourage it’s students to be more involved with the school and show their inner Wolves.
“For us, the goal is during homecoming to bring in all the clubs, all the students, together; we participate in a huge parade and have activities every day”, said Ms. Edith Gonzalez.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but if these efforts continue, Westside is on the path to create an exciting and unique school experience.