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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



There has been much discussion this week in my area about school spirit, or the lack of it as the case may be. I don’t know that it is really an issue that is a local one or if it invades all of our communities from time to time. Lack of attendance at games, lack of support for student activities, the students themselves not being interested in taking part of what is going on are all noticeable measures of what is perceived as a lack of school spirit. But where really does this lackadaisical attitude stem from? It is this much larger question that should and has to be answered.

There are probably more than a few issues which lead to this bigger problem. One group that has to be accountable is the administration from the board on down through the staff. We see large amounts of money spent on facilities, but no money spent on others, which leads to resentment. I think a brand spanking new sports facility is great, but if you have lost students from other areas, be it lack of support for the fine arts or other activities (yeah I’m talking about the lack of a decent auditorium and greenhouse here) then you are only dressing up the outside of your house without taking care of the interior. And maybe folks some of this is on us. We all wanted a piece of the pie when it came to the new school and maybe we selfishly forgot that bringing students and communities together at a very early age is the best way to bring cohesion?

Certainly the above group can’t be the only ones accountable here. We all know and realize that winning is a big part of what brings people out to see you. We see it on the professional and college level so why does it surprise us so much when it has finally trickled down to the high school level? Being a history buff enables me the opportunity to look back and dig through the stories, and folks this isn’t a new thing. I’ve read news stories of a similar situation where schools consolidated and it took winning football at high levels to bring communities together. When teams don’t win, the only ones who show up for games tend to be parents and friends and those who just love to watch.

It goes beyond that as well and we have to hang some of it on the students themselves. I’ve been to large 3A schools where thousands show up for games and watch as students pay little attention to the action on the field, and stand and clap politely for the school song, but couldn’t be seen in public singing the words. It starts with the students, being involved, supporting each other whether that be at a football game, a quiz bowl, or an FFA function.

Over the course of the next few months there will be larger discussion about this taking place in the community. And maybe part of those discussions need to also include a discussion about being proud of the town you live in. Do you support the activities in your town? Do you attend church dinners or show up for more than the parade at your town celebration? Do you venture out of your own town to attend something not in your own community as a way to start supporting each other in a larger sense? When you pull up in front of the post office, do you stop to pick up that candy bar wrapper lying on the curb? Or is the place you live simply a place where you have your own little kingdom that ends just on the other side of your privacy fence? Surely something to think about isn’t it?

See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.