School Spirit at an All Time High

By Claire Wilson

October 3, 2023

Photo credit: Gabrielle White

The homecoming football game has always attracted the most attendees of the season, and the reasons aren’t surprising. An enthusiastic student section, fresh garlic bread, and an entertaining halftime show, complete with the announcement of this year’s homecoming royalty, make the game worth showing up for. The importance of the actual game, on the other hand, seems to be secondary to the other attractions of the event. 

On Friday the 29th, despite the drizzling rain, students and fans fill the bleachers at the homecoming football game. Sophomore Logan Kusko, standing in the student section, tells me what they’ve done so far that night, saying, “I’ve walked around, gotten food, donated, gotten my face painted, not really watched the game very much but it looks like we’re winning.” Although the student section is full of cheers for things the football team does, it would seem that most people don’t really know what’s going on on the field. In fact, many students don’t watch the game at all, instead opting to walk around, socialize, or buy food from the snack bar or FFA barbeque. 

The student section of the bleachers is crucial to the spirit of the event, a nucleus of sorts, where students stand, packed, socializing and cheering when the football team scores. Located in the center of the bleachers and right next to the band, this area is unsurprisingly even more full than usual at the homecoming game. Many have their faces painted or are dressed in their class spirit colors. “I can look at everyone in the stands and see there’s so much yellow and gold, face paint, like even Quinn [Wilson] is wearing a banana costume.” says senior class president Karen Lun, motioning to the rowdy student section. 

MBHS school spirit seems to be on the rise since the school’s reopening in 2021. “I think since we got back from the pandemic we notice more of this going on,” says Brynn Belyea, band director of 29 years, “More students being part of the student section. I remember years when there was hardly anything. It was lame to have school spirit. Kids didn’t want to be leaders or be part of the fun of it. I think it’s been awesome these last couple of years.”

But where is this post-pandemic enthusiasm coming from? A 2021 study by researchers at the University of Calgary found that “The prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms (among children and adolescents) during COVID-19 doubled, compared with pre pandemic estimates,” a finding that seems to contradict the increase in school spirit at MBHS in recent years. Instead of becoming withdrawn and uninvolved, the student body seems to have gone the opposite direction. 

Homecoming royalty Iris Ratzat and Manny Diaz  (Photo credit: Gabrielle White)

The explanation for this seems to lie in our need for belonging, which became more important than ever after nearly a year spent at home. Leaning over the front rail of the bleachers, ASB co-president, Ruby Scott, speaks on the bonding effect of school events, saying, “Even though putting events together can be really stressful, they tend to bring us together and we all get to have a good time together."

This feeling of togetherness is especially prevalent among groups that participate in the football games. “I feel like if I wasn’t in the band I’d just be coming to the football games, hanging out with my friends, but being in the band it really feels like I’m a part of something,” says senior Earl Bump, alto saxophonist in marching band. 

Cheer (left) and Dance Fusion (right) perform their halftime show routines. (Photo credit: Gabrielle White)

As the last generation of students who experienced the Covid-19 shutdown during high school, many of this year’s seniors feel that they’ve missed out on a year of high school and the activities that come with it; dances, football games, rallies, clubs, etc. Because this is their last year, school spirit is one way of making the most of it. “I think especially this year it’s so great seeing our senior class show more school spirit,” says Lun, “I know in past years the class of 2024 is not known for our school spirit, but I think we’ve really outdone ourselves this year." Homecoming weekend is arguably the biggest event of the winter semester, and this year’s student body has made the most of it by showing up in higher numbers and with an ever-increasing sense of spirit.