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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Facing the death of spirit, leaders look for keys to revival

One boy dressed from head to toe in red — shoes, shirt, car key lanyard — licks peanut butter off of a plastic plate. Another wearing all blue attempts eagerly to outdo him. From the four corners of the Large Gym come shouts and high-pitched cheers, each class attempting to outdo the others.
This is a common scene at rallies. But while hundreds of students still attend the now twice-a-semester events, the clear trend has been toward more and more empty bleachers.
In the meantime, student leaders are looking for answers. Junior rally commissioner Natalie Miller said restrictions on rallies are part of the problem.
“It has been harder to please the administration while making a funny rally for all the students,” Miller said. “I think sometimes they forget we’re high school students who are immature and just want to make a few stupid harmless jokes.”
In addition to fewer students attending rallies, other spirit-related activities like spirit days and Powderpuff football are also have trouble generating participation. 
“People at our school believe they have better things to do and think, ‘Oh, I have to use those extra three minutes necessary to choose a spirit day outfit instead of studying for a Chemistry test,’” junior class president and spirit commissioner Adrienne Kim said. “It takes like five minutes. It’s easy. Do you go to SHS? Why wouldn’t you want to represent your school?”
Lack of spirit
According to several class officers, juniors have an especially hard time allocating time for rallies and spirit activities.
“I think we could do a better job motivating the junior class,” junior class treasurer Josh Pi said. “Even though junior year is a tough year, I think the officers, including myself, should try harder to encourage people to participate instead of just focusing on schoolwork.”
Kim said that the junior class officers have been working harder on participating in school events like Powderpuff, Homecoming and spirit days.
“It’s really important for the officers to take part in these activities because if other students see us [participating,] they’ll want to do it too,” Kim said.
Promoting spirit
To combat the issue of low student attendance, the rally commission wants to have mandatory rallies that will require all students to attend by closing down all classrooms during tutorials. These could encourage students who didn’t go to rallies in former years to attend, Miller said.
“We were hoping that having tutorials closed down would make people have nothing better to do so that they can come and see how fun rallies actually are,” Miller said. “People are so stressed out and worried about their grades that they go to every tutorial but we want more people to come.”
This idea is currently being debated. Because the addition of mandatory rallies would require changing the schedule of the rally day, the rally commission is working with the administration, teachers and the office to make them a reality.
Miller hopes to see mandatory rallies instituted by the next school year, but said, “It’s not looking good.”
The spirit commission is also looking at new tactics to increase student participation in spirit-related activities, like spirit days and dances, and is looking to expand its social media presence.
For Spring Fling, the spirit commission used Instagram and Facebook to tally the number of people who dressed up. They had previously marked down those who visited their table at the top of the quad steps, but many weren’t aware of this method, said junior spirit commissioner Christina Chin.
The spirit commission's ultimate goal is to bring students more together and increase school pride — an objective that has not been fulfilled to their standards yet.
“Spirit is really important and helps to get students pumped up about events on campus,” Chin said. “It’s important for the school to bond.”
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