Does Decatur still have school spirit?


Courtesy of Hannah Mourlas

Excitement fills the student section for the Hawaii themed game, one of the few exceptions were students are eager to participate.

For more than 60 years, Stephen Decatur High School has held all of the typical events a high school would have: Pep rallies, school dances, Homecoming Week, dress-up days, and more, have been a part of students’ lives for decades.

But what has changed? The school’s most recent events seem to have a lack of excitement from our students.

At our Homecoming pep-rally on Friday, Oct. 22, the stands seemed noticeably quiet during a variety of events.

“The stands were almost silent when the crowds were supposed to be cheering,” said junior Rife Leonard. “The senior class did not hype the school up enough through out the week, which led to a lame and quiet pep rally.”

There is no doubt things have seemed to shift. This year, the Smish-Smosh lip-syncing talent show was cancelled. Usually, Smish-Smosh brings a decent crowd during Homecoming Week. Though many announcements were made to try to get more followers, because of lack of participation, that was unfortunately not the case this year.

But what is causing this lack of student excitement?

History teacher Mary Hathaway has been very involved with the school throughout her teaching career, coaching the swim team and facilitating other school events. In 2017, she created a lip dub video that made it on Delmarva Life, a local lifestyle TV show on WBOC-TV. The video showed nearly all students and staff in the school lip-syncing to a variety of songs.

“There is definitely a decrease in school spirit,” Hathaway said. “I believe that social media and cellphones are the root cause. Students are more interested in their online presence than they are in real life. We also have lost a sense of community during COVID and we need to build it back.”

The hypothesis that a decrease in school spirit is being caused by either social media, or the seniors’ lack of encouragement, are just two opinions of the school. Freshman Tara Fohner has another.

“I haven’t seen a lot of high school spirit this year, but I wouldn’t say it’s decreasing,” she said, noting how the student section at football games seems to be an exception.

To encourage more support at Decatur’s home football games, students have decided on themes for each game, in hopes of students dressing up. This idea has been successful so far, filling the student section of the bleachers with excitement and cheering. Past themes have included Hawaii, neon, pink, and America.

“The student section is energetic to say the least,” said junior Owen Knerr. “I think it has helped our school spirit since COVID-19.”

Following the results of the student section, it is hoped by many that for years to come, supporting our school will become more of a normal again, instead of something that has to be begged for.