Editorial: Students, staff debate school spirit

 Webster fans gather for the Nov. 14, soccer State championship at Soccer Park. Roughly a third of the school was at the previous day’s game to support the Statesmen in the semi-finals. Photo by Andy Kimball

Webster fans gather for the Nov. 14, soccer State championship at Soccer Park. Roughly a third of the school was at the previous day’s game to support the Statesmen in the semi-finals. Photo by Andy Kimball

Some feel school spirit at the high school has declined over the past few years and point to the lack of students attending and cheering at games to supports this perception.

Coach Dwyane Kirksey, assistant football coach, said when he started in 2002, the student sections were packed, but in 2013, he started to see a decline.

Kirksey said the lack of spirit may be due to “technology, jobs, and people have other plans on Friday nights.”

Senior Pep Club co-president Rebecca Riley said, “Older kids think it’s ‘dumb’ to cheer at games, and younger kids model that.”

While some say spirit is in a decline, others think it’s coming back after a mere period of dormancy and note that over a third of students (800 who checked in with athletic director Jerry Collins) attended the men’s soccer semi-final game.
The question of school spirit is definitely debatable.

Social Studies teacher and freshman basketball coach Zach Smith said, “I feel like we’ve reached a turning point. The 800 students at the soccer game, the Fox 2 Pep Rally, the Lip Dub, Spirit Week…it feels like the whole school, staff and students, is more excited to be here, and that’s what it’s all about! It’s about enjoying our school.”

Some have lamented the days of fun Friday night football games are over as the students seemed to turn to other sports and activities.

Students seem to be at home or at a party, and not supporting their school and classmates.

All of this is puzzling. School events are now the last thing on students’ minds.

Principal John E. Thomas said this is because “students have many other options like social media and/or jobs.”

Head basketball coach Jay Blossom said, “I don’t understand why kids aren’t attending. It’s tradition I hope comes back.”

Bonnie Randall and Isabelle Slane, seniors, said they saw a decline in the senior participation from last year.

Assistant football coach Dwight Kirksey said, “Kids have more going on; the school work is harder,” and that’s why they aren’t coming to the games.

Kirksey said having events for students during tailgates would be good for the students and to capture their attention.
Deadmon said players have to win games to grab students attention.

To raise school spirit, Riley and her pep club members have put together a lip dub where the entire student body lip syncs a song for a video, and they included all the clubs and sports teams.

Riley said, “The lip dub will hopefully bring school spirit back.”

Those who suggest that there is good school spirit point out that Statemen paraphernalia sales have increased from $9,000 in 2013 to $11,000 in 2014. At only halfway through the school year, spirit gear sales are already over $11,000.

Right now in Webster the soccer team is very popular. High school soccer is in the same season as football, so it makes sense why students aren’t attending football games.

Head men’s soccer coach Tim Cashel said, “I feel the student spirit has never been higher than right now. The students rallied around us.” Cashel felt the atmosphere was incredible.

When one wins State championships, fans will be attract to the games; when one doesn’t, it’s hard for students to feel obligated to come out and give support.

Soccer has captured the attention of many students, and that’s what they are supporting right now.
It seems, then, that spirit is fluid.

Daniel Deadmon, senior and football/basketball player, said the school spirit was based on the success of top athletes from a year ago, and since those athletes left, fans lost faith in the teams.

Deadmon said since fans haven’t showed support, it makes him want to work harder.

Regardless of performance, though, it’s important for the student body to show spirit.

Blossom said, “The student body makes a difference at games, and the players feed off that.”

Spirit helps create success, and success keeps the spirit high.

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