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Opinion: school spirit deficit is disconcerting

Before arriving at RBHS my freshman year, I had high hopes for the student life and perks of being a Bruin. The large campus size, giant student body, unassigned seating for lunch and most importantly, the sport games, are all hallmarks of our school. As a wide-eyed middle school student eager to begin my high school career, I imagined standing in the student section at a Friday night football game wearing green and gold face paint with a Bruin head t-shirt.

Sadly, the real world rarely meets fantasy born expectations. When I was finally able to go to a RBHS football game during my freshman year, I was met not with spirit but rather teenage chauvinism. People in the student section threw food and drinks and additionally lambasted the cheerleaders, referees and football players with boos and chants.

By the end of the game, we were losing, and many, if not most, of the students had left the bleachers entirely and gone home. What surprised me most was the disappointed faces I saw from my fellow classmen, who were at the time freshmen. Our first high school football game was supposed to be a night of bonding, cheap popcorn, doing the wave and fun; instead, we had a night of disappointment.

Games later in the season followed suit with this unfortunate pattern. People went along with the attire themes, such as ‘white out’ and ‘neon,’ but that was the extent of student pride as the foolishness and teenage antics persisted at each game.

The week leading up to homecoming wasn’t much better. The various spirit day themes weren’t getting much participation outside the student government officers, a handful of freshmen and court members. The school spirit that should’ve been present beforehand was absent.

School pride is important because it separates a normal high school experience from an extraordinary one. It is a perfectly viable option for students in high school to go through the four years of education with their heads buried in their phones, avoiding social events such as sports games and school dances if their main focus is a traditional public education. What school spirit does is create depth and lasting purpose for students during this stressful and anxiety ridden period in their lives.

Being entirely academically focused may be enough for some people, but after the seventh or eighth test in an advanced placement class, I realized that the meaning my grades gave me was fleeting. After the last final of my second semester, I registered that all the late night study cramming and homework-filled weekends aren’t enough.

Many students notice that something is missing and will soon realize they missed out on everything that a high schooler should experience. They didn’t go to games or dress out for school events or even buy any school merchandise. High school can’t be all work and no play; otherwise, we all become as dull as the textbooks we read.

By the end of freshman year, I was so apathetic and cynical to the lack of enthusiasm from our student body that I didn’t bother to go to any basketball games. Throughout my sophomore and junior year, the issue only got steadily worse.

With 2,021 students at RBHS, it’s disappointing that we as Bruins take no pride in our school. We don’t go beyond the half-hearted efforts we normally now give in support of our sports teams. As an upperclassman cheerleader, I traveled alongside both the varsity football and basketball teams to various away games and saw schools half our size demonstrate more than twice the school spirit at one game then we at RBHS did in an entire season.

I am not trying to shame or call out our current student spirit groups or their leaders. A leader can’t invoke a response from an unwilling person. The blame for our lack of energy is shared among all 2,021 of us. As individuals, it is our responsibility to hold each other accountable. As a collective it is our responsibility to encourage those who participate in extracurricular activities.

We have failed in both those duties. We don’t show school spirit because we don’t see the value in doing so.

We have forgotten what it means to be a Bruin and the upcoming senior class must learn from our mistakes by evaluating what it means to be a part of this school; otherwise, they are doomed to repeat our mistakes.

 

How important is school spirit to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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