School spirit suffers in post-pandemic era


Rachel Roach, Guest Writer

 When was the last time you participated in a school event? Was it for powder puff or maybe spirit week? Usually, everyone misses at least one spirit day; not everyone remembers, has the materials, or has time to participate in it. But the crowd cheering in the stands has taken a downhill turn recently, and those who turn out tend not to have a roaring cheer for the school team. In correlation, the junior field trip was canceled due to the low turnout rate, just like the Volleyball Marathon. In addition, the Wizard of Oz play was able to have an amazing product; however, they were in extremely small casting.

My friend, Tabetha Santos-Nadaud, would plead every day, “We need more people…could you please be a flying monkey?” 

To try and combat the low school spirit, Mrs.Nemeth has the Harbor videos play on half days but my class at least, would become rambunctious and not listen to tips to create more school spirit. Is it due to a lack of school spirit? Or is it more than that? 

No More Exuberant Crowds 

When you think of a school game, what do you think of? An exuberant crowd cheering their school’s team while shouting plays and calls? Or, if you think of the recent pandemic encircling Ludlow’s crowds, you think of the audience indulging in their own side conversations or with their phones out to update their status that they are out and about in life having a “great time.”

As a junior from LHS proclaims, Emma Ellis, “The crowds just don’t cheer anymore.”

If you were a witness to the Junior Vs Senior powder puff game this year, you have seen the lack of enthusiasm in the crowds firsthand. The amount of Juniors showing school support was scarce, and those who were there sat looking bewildered at the last-minute cheerleaders trying to pump up the crowd. 

Comparably, the prep rally had a similar turnout this year for the Seniors. With the seniors’ school spirit taking a prodigious downhill spike after the rebuttal the school took to counteract their senior prank this year, the majority of them left early to form a “strike” at the prep rally. With a whole area of the potential full bleachers being absent with a scarce amount of seniors staying with participating or watching, the school spirit was already down by a potential ¼ of electrifying cheers. 

A Junior who was there for the powder puff game for both of the years the Juniors were able to do powder puff who actively tried to engage in the team, Jessica Vautrain, also frequents sporting games to show school spirit. She has shared her onlook on the powder puff game from her own personal experience. 

 “The powder puff crowd did not have a lot of energy,” and for an inside look at the team, she says, “ I feel like there were cliques…we’re supposed to be on a team, everyone should feel included and not just separated.” 

The few that did cheer cheered for their friend or vice versa. It was no longer about unity but more or less about just hanging out with friends. While this is good and great, being unified as a school and class seemed to be almost impossible. 

While crowds die down and down in the LHS bleachers, so does the ability to unify as a school or class for the ability to make exuberant cheers. 

Spirit Week has Less and Less Spirit 

Having the perfect time to skip class for a short period of time and then trying to win against your fellow classmen is always a fun moment. Skipping that awkward moment in the classroom in order to see some friends always seems like something fun to do, right? Well, for some, it seems to be “cringe,” and for others, it seems to be “too much work.” 

Every spirit week, you see the few kids that tape a picture of something relating to the theme onto their faces or covering themselves in marker or highlighter. While the fall and winter spirit weeks were amazing. However, with the dread of wanting to leave and get school over with, that spirit drizzled. Drizzled into nothing. 

 With the recent spirit week being in disarray due to AP testing, the seniors and juniors had an unfair advantage the whole week. Then, the sophomores had their field trip, which made them miss a whole day. That week numbers were low, even for the winners, the Juniors. As a first account for the juniors, you would go down during that spirit week, and normally, both sides were filled; that week, it would hardly fill a side. 

When students do not feel inclined to participate in these activities, they would rather stay in the classes. If their friends stay back in the class, they would want to, of course, why would you want to go down alone? This is the scenario that plays in most of the kid’s heads, which ends up with lower attendance. 

With Spirit Week being a big event to coordinate for, an English teacher steps forward each year to bring it to life, Mrs. Ollquist, and she offers her analysis of spirit week.

“The fall and winter spirit weeks went pretty well,” Ollquists proclaims, “spring spirit week was mainly powder puff.” 

While the dress-up day activities were not the top priority, she seemed to gather that powder puff was the thing students were looking forward to the most. While this seemed to be the case for the freshmen to sophomores game, right when juniors versus seniors came on, the crowd dispersed. 

As Vautrain further implied, “It seemed as if they just came to sit, and I know our team was losing badly, but people should have stayed to support instead of just leaving.” 

With the bleachers feeling barren and teams having less and less support, is it just a lack of school spirit? Or is it just bad timing and busy schedules? 

 The constant various conversations fighting over each other in excitement while arriving at our destination, the cheers when the bus stops to finally get off the long bus ride to your field trip. 

Annulment of Events

 This opportunity was missed for the Juniors this year. The lack of enthusiasm and disinterest in the field trip detoured the majority of the class away. As a result, the field trip to Patriots Place was canceled. The field trip was then a mirage, no longer a yearly tradition of classes that was thus interrupted. The various reasons that students gave for not signing up were everywhere. 

For a look at the mindset of the majority of the Juniors class thoughts for the field trip, Olivia LeClaire offers her opinion of the Patriots Field trip and why she did not want to sign up.

 “No, I did not sign up for the field trip because it was a place I did not want to go [to],” LeClaire says. 

Although picking a sports team’s hall of fame may not be for everyone, the aggression on the field trip was high. Myself included, I am not a huge sports person, nor do I have the money to shop at the shops at Patriots Place. I still signed up for the memories. This was the only field trip you could have during your junior year, and it was canceled. The junior class is not on the same “wavelength” when it comes to events, as everyone wants something different. 

 Not only was the Junior field trip canceled this year, but we also had a prom scare as well. With announcements from Mrs.Nemeth every day about low sign-up rates for prom so they extended the deadline. Thankfully, the event did not fall through and proceeded to commence at the Log Cabin as planned by the junior class, but from what Mrs.Nemeth made it seem like, it was a close call. 

However, what was not a close call was the Volleyball Marathon. Only a handful of the slots were filled by possible teams and their team coaches for this year’s rerun of the Volleyball Marathon. Team captains who turned in their $30 to guarantee their team a slot were met back with that $30 due to the low amount of sign-ups. The overnight marathon of rounds of volleyball with food served was met with snubs and muffled silence. This event was just another added on to the missing events of this year. But was this due to a lack of school spirit? 

Is it Really a Lack of School Spirit?

This school year was the first year that was fully officially “normal” after covid, with no online classes and no mandatory masks. With finally being able to experience the true “high school experience” that LHS has to offer, most would think that the attendance and spirit to finally be able to experience these events would be an all-time high, but it is quite the opposite. 

The lack of spirit at LHS’s crowds is a mixture of a multitude of causes. One is that covid has made some students reliant on their phones to relay serotonin to their brains, so being on their phone while their home team may have made a mess up avoids the event of the event not bringing them serotonin. Some just like to take photos to show they are there having a fun time but really just want to update their life. Grant you some people involved love to take photos and love the game as well! Then of course, another factor can be the embarrassment of having attention drawn to them for shouting and cheering as not many others are doing it. These are just a few of the abundance of possibilities that can be contributing to the lack of crowd cheer, maybe not fully contributing to school spirit and more to not fully being in the moment, but still correlating to school spirit nonetheless.

The few students who end up showing up to games are scarce and are usually full of those above. While some days may be inconvenient with busy schedules, school work overload, and practice/game overlaps, that does not add up for the low attendance rates. As someone who personally goes to a lot of home games, it would usually be my friend and I and parents or a teacher or two here and there. Not many kids would show up unless it was a home football game, then you get the attendance. But the various other sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and more, are overshadowed by this event. The reason for this is a widespread mindset of “Why even go?” If they do not like sports or that sport particularly and it is money to get in…why go? This is a conclusion that changes with a person-to-person status; some people genuinely can not go, and some just do not have the spirit to go, which those individuals fall under the lack of school spirit epidemic flooding LHS.  

 With spirit week as a whole being successful, there is no doubt that you can see some attitude changes in those who once participated or the outlook of those who do not give to it. With the majority of students already being self-conscious due to just being human, what others think and say affects the actions that we do. When someone gives you a sour look over an outfit you had put together for spirit week, it makes you self-conscious most of the time, possibly leading to them no longer participating in seeming “cool.” Some have influences from their friends. Why go down to call all by yourself if your friends are just staying back? Mine as well stay with them. This is a form of a lack of school spirit because it instead looks for the engagement of others rather than school spirit. 

 However, this does not apply to every situation, like always. Impressively enough, spirit week seems to always do pretty well! Spirit week is never usually a worry, but catching these actions here and there might slowly make it turn into less of a turn out rate, so it is something to beware of. 

With the cancellation of events, this is almost mainly a lack of school spirit and or class spirit. With the lasting days of high school leaving by every passing day, so are these events as of recently. Low turnout seems to be plaguing the LHS events as a whole. Nothing much can be done of this unless we work together for it to work. For every event to have a high turnout, it needs different steps to be successful. As a school, we need to find these steps and implement them before even more events are canceled. 

 But for the big question, is it really a lack of school spirit or is it more? With passing days seeming to just pass by, these things are shoved under the rug to forget about, besides the one-off jabs here and there. After covid, life has changed, and as a school we need to learn to adapt to the new way of life. What we need to adapt is uncertain yet, but as a community, it can be solved. This epidemic of bland spirit that is plaguing LHS is not just bad school spirit, it is the fact of the state of the school and school system as a whole and other factors in daily life as well.