What killed our spirit?

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Construction on campus obstructs togetherness, spirit

Mikaela Rabizadeh media editor

NEWS: Over the past few years, construction has yielded a geographical division of the student body, leaving a vacant main building between the science building and bungalows. With more than half of the campus under construction, including the auditorium, the front lawn, B1 and B2, the question at hand becomes whether or not this division has shifted from a geographical division to a figurative one.

For former ASB director and now principal Mark Mead, construction has obstructed the element of togetherness that was once a possibility.

“When I was doing ASB and we had the auditorium and we could celebrate as a team together, that’s what we miss: togetherness. There aren’t places to be all together. If we do an assembly, we have to do six in a row. We are all in little segments so it’s harder for us to be together. And then kids leave at lunch so it’s hard to be together at lunch,” Mead said.

Senior Lauren Samidi describes the main building as crucial to the complete high school experience.

“The main building resembles a traditional high school–something we see in movies, read about in books and so on,” Samidi said. “Now that we don’t have access to that building, it’s hard thinking of our high school as traditional when there is such a disconnect from the bungalows to the science building. It doesn’t feel like high school.”

Co-president of the Norman Spirit Club senior Cameron Weisfeld blames construction for the isolationist mentality present among students.

“Construction lowered everyone’s morale. The fact that our school [became] smaller and outside things disunified us makes us feel separated from each other,” Weisfeld said.

However, according to Mead, construction is just one of the many factors that pose a threat to school spirit. Before the bell schedule was revised in 2015, fifth period was after lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays. When this schedule was in place, students could not leave during lunch. Mead believes the bell schedule in place now has been built in a way that allows a “quarter of campus to leave at the beginning of lunch.”

“In my opinion, a big part of depleting school spirit is also the bell schedule,” Mead said. “If seniors aren’t here, you’ve just lost the heart and soul of school spirit. The seniors have been here for four years, this their home and they love it here, you know. A system that encourages seniors to leave is encouraging a lack of school spirit.”

Although school spirit appears to be deflated on the exterior, Mead claims that it is still alive and well. The spirit exists intrinsically within students who are engaged and passionate inside the classroom and with extracurriculars. Mead affirms this personal spirit ultimately translates to school-wide spirit.

“The spirit is there, the kids are there. It just looks different now. If you want a Midwestern ra-ra school, that’s not exactly us,” Mead said. “But, we have a lot of pride in what we do. It’s not all athletics, sometimes it’s peer counseling or robotics. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Although construction and the bell schedule continue to be an obstacle for events and performances, Mead credits the students for holding onto school traditions and working around the obstacles.

“Anyone who says we don’t have school spirit was just not on campus, because if they were here, it was real. But the togetherness thing is what we miss a lot. And that, we can’t deny that construction has affected,” Mead said. “We’re adjusting. It has changed but I don’t know if it is profound as sometimes it might feel. Our kids have kept it going.”

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Infographic by Ava Seccuro
 

Battle against declining school spirit spearheaded by students

Alya Mehrtash staff writer

Catherine Gagulashvili copy editor

FEATURE: Hollywood depicted the high school experience as an all-around social thrill. Whether it was shown in “High School Musical” or “Mean Girls,” movies have emphasized what school spirit is supposed to look like. While the stereotype may be upheld in other high schools, 52 percent of students on campus feel that Beverly is below average when it comes to school spirit (according to a school-wide survey completed by 107 students).

In the past year, ASB has upped the ante in school events and has overall increased their efforts to engage a more spirited student body. Their efforts have been noticed by some students who continually attend spirit events, but for the most part, many students would argue there is still a lacking of spirit on campus. Despite any challenges they encounter when encouraging a spirited student body, several students are personally committed to increasing spirit on campus.  

“School spirit is incredibly important to me,” co-president of the Norman Spirit club senior Estella Rosen said. “It has the potential to make our four years at Beverly just that much better and can leave lasting memories that we can all take to college with us when we all graduate.”

As a former ASB member, Rosen played her hand in planning different events but found that the same group of students would be participating in events. She found it disheartening that her efforts were often only recognized by a limited group of committed students.

“It’s pretty frustrating and upsetting often seeing your hard work and/or ideas being laughed at or thought of as a joke,” she said. “ASB continuously tries to increase the school spirit of our school and many students don’t take the opportunities to unite the school,” she said.

Sophomore Nahal Sarafian, ASB’s sophomore vice president, has found that appealing to the student body’s mentality can be challenging.

“Without even knowing what the event is, or knowing what went into planning it, people automatically say ‘Why would I go? It won’t be fun.’ This mentality is the reason that some of the events end up being less fun than their potential, and why events have such a low turnout,” Sarafian said.

Senior Lara Pastor agrees with Sarafian in that students on campus may have a predisposed mentality against attending school events.

“I think a lot of people believe they’re too cool to have school spirit so they tend not to participate unless there are other incentives involved such as extra credit from teachers,” Pastor said.

Junior Celine Albarian doesn’t feel motivated to attend school events.

“A lot of the promotion for ASB events don’t get students excited. It’s more of an informative announcement, so I’m never really inclined to go,” she said.

Senior and co-president of the Norman Spirit club Cameron Weisfeld feels that school spirit is not only encompassed by attendance at school events but also by pride in being a Norman.

“I work [to spread school spirit] just by having a positive attitude every day going through the hallways because school spirit is more than just being loud at games. It’s being happy to go to this school and showing everyone that they belong and should be incorporated into our school,” he said.

Students committed to amping up the school spirit on campus are calling to other students to rethink the way they look at school. Rosen hopes that by encouraging a change in mentality, school spirit and morale will be boosted among students.

“The mentality of Beverly students needs to change before progress can be made toward an increase in school spirit. Students need to be willing to support one another, whether it means attending sports games during the school week or going to club fundraisers,” Rosen said. “I believe that this will lead to a domino effect in which students will want to support their friends who supported them, leading to greater attendance at fun events and greater school spirit.”

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