Exorcising School Spirit?
The week of March 1-5 was School Spirit Week for Catoctin High School. In the past, spirit weeks have included decoration of hallways, lunchtime games, themed days (such as 'hat day', 'weird hair day', 'school colors day', etc.), all topped off by a Friday afternoon Pep Rally.
This year, however, the school spirit seemed oddly absent. The halls were hardly decorated at all (and what was there was hardly inspiring), the themed days were low-key and did not attract much participation, and the lunchtime games were cancelled without explanation. But to really tip off the students to the War on Pep, the winter Pep Rally was cancelled for a second consecutive year.
Last year, the Pep Rally was cancelled because there had been a lot of snow days, and our Principal felt that we could not afford to miss any more class time. I still think this is a weak argument, because the pep rally is only for the last half-hour of a Friday afternoon. For one thing, this time isn't usually very constructive anyway, because students are eager to get out of school for the weekend. I also think teachers are more flexible in their planning than they are given credit for. One half-hour is not going to make any impact on test scores.
This year, however, the 'justification' was even weaker. We have had snow days this semester, but because of scheduled-in overflow days, and the Board of Ed deciding to take one day out of Easter Break, Frederick County students will not be missing any class time before testing near the end of the year. The snow day argument just doesn't work this year.
So why was our Pep Rally cancelled? Does the administration not like the rallies? Was it for administrative bragging rights? Should it matter?
I'll be the first to say that I don't like Spirit Week, and I hate Pep Rallies. But that's just me and a handful of others. The vast majority of high school students love all of the school spirit activities. Also, many adults, when asked what their fondest memories of high school were, will mention pep rallies and other non-class-related events.
Spirit Week and the Pep Rally serve another very important purpose as well. Simply put, High School is monotonous. Particularly at this time in the winter/spring, students are falling into routine, and it's demoralizing and tedious. The pep rally, even as short as it is, is a break from that routine, and it keeps us all sane.