The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Stand up for school spirit


TAS isn’t a bad school; in fact, it’s a great school. We hold titles for a multitude of things including robotics, math, science, and sports. We have resources that most other American high schools don’t have, such as art machine developments, research database access, and incredible facilities including for classrooms and athletics. Even our cafeteria food could be considered well above the standard American high school food. So, my question is: why isn’t our school spirit up to par with all of our greatness?
School spirit is loosely defined as emotional support for one’s educational institution. When I asked 25 people if they thought our school was spirited, 21 of them said no. Coming from a public high school in California, I personally saw the difference in school spirit between the schools as well. At my old school, students and teachers looked forward to pep rallies. They are themed and encourage everyone to dress up to receive free things from ASB (equivalent to our Student Government). The gym, a little smaller than our MS Gym, is packed with students and teachers of all grades and everyone–I mean everyone–is on their feet jumping and chanting for either their grade or the school. Announcements similar to our IASAS announcements are given, except they’re given by team captains rather than faculty members. Announcements additionally include outstanding individual achievements throughout the season.
The biggest difference is that aside from announcements, the pep rallies include performances from the school dance team, cheer squad, and a ceremony from the football players (where they attack a replica of the rivalry school mascot…I have to say this does raise a lot of school spirit, but tell that to our 5 Values).
The motive behind spirit at our school varies and usually steers away from wanting to support our school. Angie W. (12) said, “People are usually only supportive of their friends. When people are spirited, it’s for their friends, not for the school.” True, if you go to a sports match you can see the majority of students watching are there to cheer on their friends. The thing is, at my old school, you probably wouldn’t recognize almost half or more of the athletes or performers celebrated at the rallies. Yet regardless, there’s a huge surge of support for the school’s teams.
However, we may see an upward trend in spirit with the help of StuGov, Spirit Committee, and Athletics Council. Spirit Committee officer Serena C. (12) said, “I think we’re getting better at this whole school spirit thing. Some of the activities we try to do, like Spirit Night, attract more people to sports events.”
But whether or not TAS school spirit can continue to improve is debatable. Takeshi Y. (12) doesn’t think it will get better. He said, “It’s just a different culture. Spirit should be intrinsic. The rewards [and] prizes [from the Athletics Department] try to force spirit, but it shouldn’t be like that.”
Kenny L. (12) said, “Dress-up during Spirit Week or Field Day isn’t that bad. We do a bad job for sports, though.” There’s a possibility that people aren’t as spirited about sports as they are for school events because they don’t know much about some of the sports.
On the other hand, there is a group mentality behind spirit. “I know people in college who are going to football games even though they don’t know anything about football. People are going because everyone is going,” said Kenny.
That’s where we can do better: a lot of people have told me that spirit at TAS is low because many people feel silly or stupid, or that they are “too cool” to go wild with cheering during school events. “People think it’s cool to be not spirited or to act like they don’t care,” said Iris L. (12), “but it actually is cool to be passionate about our school.”
Next time there is a chance to be supportive of either your advisor group, class, or school, just do it! I have to say that being at a school that you’re proud of and you openly support generates an exciting experience that’s honestly worthwhile and like no other. There’s nothing stupid about encouraging a team even if you don’t personally know anyone in the team. You can be proud of someone for winning iGEM championships even if they aren’t your best friends. Cheer for your class during Field Day. Try being “too cool” to stay sitting while the rest of your peers are standing up for TAS.

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