School spirit is desperately needed. Here’s what we can do to raise it.

During the 2020-2021 school year, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on school spirit at Ransom Everglades. Fans could no longer attend sports games, leaving student-athletes without any cheers from their friends or family on the sidelines. There were no formal school-wide events last year—prom was only for the seniors—which meant that a whole generation of students went without knowing what a high school dance is like. As our lives slowly REturn to normal, the school has taken small steps in the right direction to restore the school spirit that was lost. But the student body is still in need of even more directed efforts from our student government and administration to bring the school together.

This week, SGA increased school spirit through the school-wide event of Homecoming. Although the dance was moved to the gym because of bad weather, Raiders still conga’d, salsa’d, and jumped their way with their masks—not just masquerade masks—on. In fact, Saturday’s homecoming achieved the biggest turnout of any RE dance in recent years; in the senior class alone, about 130 out of 160 students came, making it clear that students long for a unified school community. Two days later, they proved it again: almost all the students from each grade showed up to school on Monday ready to defeat their opponents in the Spirit Week events of Color War and indoor soccer. 

We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t mention several mistakes on SGA’s part that have muddled the return of Spirit Week. Take the late release of the Spirit Week video. This video, announcing the Spirit Week grade themes, came out only on the Thursday of the week prior, meaning that students had very little time to plan and choreograph their Lip Syncs. The student body was so outraged that the submission deadline was moved until the following Mondayafter Spirit Week is over. In addition, SGA has not set a date for when the videos are to be shown. Two options are currently being discussed: showing shortened videos post-Spirit Week on Tuesday’s assembly or, in a move eerily reminiscent of last year’s COVID protocols, showing videos to individual advisories on Thursday, where no one can hear the student body cheer. Neither of these two options is ideal.

Students have also been dismayed by the delay of class shirts. Although school has been in session for three months now, ample time for SGA to design each grade’s shirt, no shirts have materialized. By comparison, during the current seniors’ pre-pandemic sophomore year, class shirts arrived in time to be worn during Spirit Week. The timing helped students feel a sense of togetherness with their grade. 

Moreover, we question the way SGA has planned this Spirit Week with respect to the senior class. The administration has always reminded us that one of the roles of seniors is to lead the other grades during Spirit Week as they celebrate being together for four years. Although it’s admirable that SGA is trying to make Spirit Week fair to all grades this year for the sake of competition, how is it fair placing Spirit Week the week before November 1 college apps? How are seniors supposed to set an example for the future of RE students about school spirit when they are more stressed out than ever?

School spirit is about bringing the whole community together in a spirit of togetherness. But SGA and the administration must strive to create that energy in a thoughtful and intentional way. The Battle of the Oar, the yearly football game against Palmer Trinity, is a perfect example of a school event that brings us together. Should there not be at least one game for every sport that is advertised as much around campus as the Battle of the Oar is? While it makes sense that Crew, Sailing and Golf don’t get big turnouts, other team sports deserve to be highlighted at that level. Mrs. Townsend brought the oar onto stage and urged everyone to come support the team. What other sport has gotten the same kind of announcement?

From coming together to cheer on other teams to promoting closeness among different grade levels, the SGA and school administration need to step up their unification game as we move out of the pandemic to promote a more spirited future.