Little Changes could Make School Spirit Amazing

Future Generations could make the Student Section Stand Out


submitted photo

Standing Strong: Addison Dauel (24) holds a flaming baton. Lots of GHS students missed this event during halftime at the Homecoming game.

Get Loud: A school resource officer holds up a whiteboard towards the student section at Elkhorn South High School. “At a typical home football game,” Mr. Mark Kalvoda Elk South principal said. We will have over 700 students in our high school student section.” Elkhorn South High School has great participation during their football home games. (Submitted Photo)

Gretna’s school spirit has declined. Students at Gretna do not get involved with other students or school activities like students at other schools do. Some students do not want to participate because they are scared of judgment while others genuinely do not care. Adults have said that there is a generational change but there are little things Gretna does not do compared to other schools. I moved into the Gretna school district 3 years ago. My introduction to school spirit was when I heard about how much students do not enjoy the GHS community. This year, Gretna’s student body participation has declined through people not caring. The senior classes affect the rest of the student body. If the seniors are not showing school spirit, the underclassmen do not learn how to participate. There are amazing opportunities that GHS students are missing out on.
Friday, October 22, GHS’s Varsity football team played at Papillion La Vista South; their band stayed for the whole game. This is not the case at GHS; our band leaves after their halftime performance at home games, and they do not travel to play at away games. During the Papillion La Vista South halftime show, the student section sat down and watched their dance team and their baton twirlers before getting up and visiting the concession stand. Once halftime hits GHS, students leave the stands to get snacks, drinks and use the restroom. Of course, the students do not have anything against any halftime performers, but it shows that the students do not think to stay and support. School spirit starts with the students. If students do not show support for things (like the dance team at halftime or the band during game day), then those groups feel less important than let’s say the varsity football team.
After reading articles about teens’ disconnection from schools, I noticed a trend. Last year the pandemic hit everyone hard. Teachers, students, and parents were seriously affected in many ways. COVID-19 affected our younger generations the most though. The pandemic put students in an isolated state. Students were doing online school for a semester and even after that, we had restrictions. Social distancing, covering faces, putting glass covers between students, and learning through a screen taught students how to be alone for about a year. Students this year do not feel connected to their school because of the disconnection we faced with COVID-19. Students came back from the pandemic not knowing how to reconnect with each other and in return, we are struggling with school spirit this year. This could contribute to GHS’s lack of school spirit this year.
After speaking with Millard West’s principal Dr. Greg Tiemann, I learned of a few things that his school does to promote school spirit that GHS hasn’t done yet. At MW, they have a group of students that promotes school spirit called the “Wildcat Crazies” that promote a dress-up theme for school and games. GHS has a student council, but other than that we do not have a group that encourages students to dress up or engage in themes for the student section. We used to have a group of students to promote school spirit called the “Green Army” but it faded because of lack of interest. Dr. Tiemannt also mentioned that they announce school events over the intercom and announce the results of games. GHS did a good job of announcing cross country rankings but other than that they do not announce results of school sporting events. Someone should be making sure the announcements cover everything, not just what the announcement kids want to be covered (cross country because they are cross country runners). Typically, if Gretna students do not hear about something over announcements, students will just not know what’s going on.
Although Gretna did win a school participation award for state volleyball, it should always be like that whether it is state or just a home game. Students should always support sports, not just when we are doing good. Support means always being there for something but usually, we see more Gretna students care when we are doing good.
Overall, GHS needs more school spirit. If our school spirit does not get changed soon, it will negatively affect the underclassman as they continue through their school years. A group of students that promote school spirit, students wanting to sit and support halftime performers, and having sports win and events be announced could greatly benefit the atmosphere of Gretna.