Students were less than enthused for the most recent pep rally. Photo: Fred Assaf
Students were less than enthused for the most recent pep rally.
Photo: Fred Assaf

With students who attend a prestigious academic institution with excellent arts and sports programs, one would expect there to be more school spirit. School spirit — pride and enthusiasm for attending the school you go to — is mostly missing from Pace Academy, and the school spirit that exists for brief moments is psuedo-spirit.

Pace has many activities and events for students designed to encourage school spirit; however, they are more of a burden to attend or participate in. Dances are opportunities to foster school spirit, and Pace dances clearly demonstrate what little school spirit Pace has. The students who normally attend are underclassmen who are still in the honeymoon phase of being in high school; many upperclassmen are too jaded, have better things to do that don’t involve school, and generally just don’t care enough.

Pep rallies are the worst display of school spirit, especially when they are held in the morning. In Mr. Owens’s G period BC Calculus class this year, students asked to remain in class and work because they did not want to attend another burdensome pep rally that appeals more to lower and middle school students than to high schoolers. The most iconic symbol of school spirit, pep rallies at Pace create a false atmosphere of school spirit that vanishes once everyone meanders back to class.

School spirit should be most apparent at sporting events, but that spirit is lacking even when there is a large crowd. Student attendance at games, save for home basketball and football games, is minuscule compared to other schools, and considering the tight-knit community at Pace, one would think that more students would go and support their sports teams. Basketball is the only clear example of school spirit, thanks to the Knights of the Round Table, but that only applies to the boys varsity basketball team.

One can argue that football always has a great turnout, but that’s only when they play at home, and attendance does not always equate to school spirit. The atmosphere at football games underwhelms the players. Students treat football games as a social event and often leave at half-time instead of being there to support their school and their team. Playing at home is supposed to give the team a home field advantage; however, the absence of school spirit removes that advantage, because the students treat the game as background noise.

There have been attempts to increase school spirit at football and basketball games by having themes for dressing-up. While it is difficult to participate in some of the themes, such as neon (Lets face it, what boy owns a neon polo?), few actually dress up for even the more traditional themes such as all blue, black-out, and red, white and blue, simply because no student cares enough. Pace has always been an academic and artistic school, which could explain why school spirit is lacking at sporting events. However, Pace still has a lame display of school spirit in all other areas.

Spirit Week does not imply a week full of school spirit, but rather a week full of pseudo grade-specific spirit where each grade tries to outcompete the other, instead of having the school unite as a whole. School spirit is nonexistent during Spirit Week, because it is not about Pace, it is about each grade trying to beat the others. With the grades factionalized, school spirit evaporates. During Spirit Week, there are dress-up themes for each day. Granted, some themes are harder to dress for than others, but only a small minority of students dress according to their theme. One would assume that with the grades factionalized, students would fully participate in the duties of Spirit Week, when in fact only a small portion of each grade are on the committees. Also, it is rare to find a grade where everyone participates in the skit. Just because the week is titled “Spirit Week,” it does not mean that there is actual spirit.

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