M-A Leadership faces the difficult task of coordinating successful spirit days and lunchtime events for a student body of over 2,200 students and creating a sense of community on campus. A survey of 231 students showed that M-A generally lacks school spirit.  

Having a spirited student body has many benefits. According to a study by Varsity Brands, “more spirited students tend to perform better academically, be more civically engaged, and be happier in general.” 

To senior Toni Olivero, the significance of having school spirit is “to bring people together and feel like we are all one unified community by coming together to dress up for a theme.” 

ASB President and senior Erin Young said, “spirit makes everything more fun. It kind of shows off who we are. If you’re having a difficult day or a difficult class, you can look at somebody who’s maybe dressed weirdly, or who has their feet out, and just laugh, which brings a little bit of joy throughout the school day.” 

Despite these benefits, some have noticed a lack of school spirit at M-A. Olivero said, “I feel like the spirit at M-A is not that great. We kind of struggle to get everyone to dress up because the spirit days are not very inclusive.” 

In our survey, about a quarter of students said they never participate in spirit days, and almost 70% only participate sometimes.

This percentage is even lower for Leadership lunchtime activity participation, with almost 60% of students saying they never participate.

 This is not the case at other local high schools. Martina Meyerfreund, a junior at Palo Alto High School, commented, “Students really like to bring out spirit and represent the Vikes, especially during events like spirit week. Most people dressed all out according to themes and brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the rallies.” 

When M-A students were asked why they did not participate in spirit days or events, most mentioned other commitments and being unenthusiastic about these events. Sophomore Kim Pols said, “I usually have a lot to do during lunch in terms of studying or clubs. For spirit days, I often don’t happen to have the necessary items to dress up or they aren’t weather-appropriate.” 

Junior Iris Stevenson chooses not to participate because “sometimes the themes are weirdly specific, or not very well advertised. Spirit activities are usually great and well-hosted but just not my cup of tea.” 

Other students are indifferent to spirit days and activities. Junior Jace Furman said, “It just feels like too much effort for something that doesn’t really matter to me.” 

Likewise, Senior Alyssa Hernandez stated, “I just don’t have the energy to be spirited.” 

Few juniors dress up for spirit day

For others, not participating in school spirit is less about time and effort. To Junior Ellen Forte, “Excessive school spirit feels a little bit like patriotism.” 

Peer pressure also plays a role in the lack of spirit participation. Senior Fabiana Bolanos says that she chooses not to dress up because “nobody else does. It feels dumb dressing up when only a select few do it.” 

On the other end, peer pressure can also result in increased spirit. Senior Alejandra Valdes explained, “Now that it’s my last year, I’ve been trying to take advantage of every chance I get to show pride in my school, and a lot of the people I know are very spirited, which has made it much easier.” 

Young explained, “people are just so used to us not really having that much spirit that they have no motivation to change. We need to break that cycle.” 

M-A Leadership Instagram Post Promoting Spirit Week

Leadership has tried to increase participation in various ways. Sophomore Leadership student Kaitlyn Harding said, “Leadership promotes school spirit by promoting spirit weeks with posters and through social media.”

While general school spirit is lacking, many students believe that Leadership already connects the student body in other ways. Junior Palmer Assunto said, “Leadership does an amazing job of bringing our campus together. Many Leadership activities and events unite students from all walks of life in a way that positively affects the community, such as the Canned Food Drive.” 

Young said, “We try to make spirit days that will be fun for everyone. We are always open to new ideas of things to do and things that you didn’t like about our spirit days.” She added, “Increasing school spirit really starts with the upperclassmen participating and showing that it’s fun, which will then help the underclassmen participate more.” 

Students can stay updated on spirit events by checking out the M-A Leadership instagram @menloathertonleadership or website, or can give feedback to Leadership by filling out this form.

Jolene Chu is a junior at M-A this year and in her first year in journalism. She enjoys writing about student life at M-A. In her free time, Jolene enjoys running track, playing volleyball, and listen to music!

Leave a Reply