Improving School Spirit


Sage Gilbert, ACL Co-Editor

In the midst of spirit week, students navigated wheelbarrows through the halls while others breezed past with their usual backpacks on. I asked a student to define school spirit. The answer: “school spirit is the celebration and pride of the feeling of unity that a school creates for its students.” Although this year’s Homecoming spirit week displayed that PHS does possess school spirit, it sometimes feels like we lack a key aspect of spirit – unity.  

Spirit drives students to be high achieving. At Piedmont in particular, it motivates us to “achieve the honorable” – the slogan that is engraved on the library’s walls, repeated by administrators, and pasted on the official website. A unified school implies that all students feel safe, welcomed, and free from judgment when expressing their opinions. 

In comparison to other high schools, Piedmont’s student body does not consistently display an intense level of spirit, and, therefore, unity. Perhaps this is due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Piedmont’s student body; we continue to feel the effects of missing out on some of the most imperative, formative years of our lives.

Nonetheless, student turnout at football games this year was constantly fluctuating – sometimes the student section was full of hopeful high schoolers cheering on a team with a 0-5 record, while other nights there was nothing but a smattering of students in the stands. Friday night football games are an American high school tradition, and has been a part of Piedmont culture since the program’s development in 1921.  On past Friday nights, Witter’s stadium lights and lively student cheers could be seen and heard from blocks away. At least for now, Witter’s lights will be dim and the student section will be quiet. The Varsity football program has almost entirely dissolved, and unity within the student body may continue to fade along with it. 

This feeling of a lack of unity is not only reflected by our football games – it’s just where we happen to see it most at play. At this year’s Homecoming volleyball game, half of the student section left after Piedmont lost the second set. Suddenly, the stands were half-full – an eerie reminder of how the student section at football games looks at times. Before this point, the bleachers were a sea of purple, loud and joyful. Our volleyball players were excited, and that could be seen in their performance. Being in Binks Gym in those moments cultivated a spirit that could be felt by the team and students alike. We were one unified voice, cheering for our school. 

When the stands were suddenly empty, that powerful sense of unity disappeared. The spirit left the gym with the students. A half-full student section is disheartening for the players and creates the impression of an ununified, ill-spirited school. 

The student participation and turnout at the volleyball game demonstrated the true potential of our student body. If we continue to put effort into showing up together, sports can and will continue to create unity. This will foster a positive environment that will overflow into classroom conversations and student relationships. And, as the lacrosse and soccer seasons begin, Witter’s lights will turn back on, perhaps enhancing our unity and embellishing our already present school spirit.