School spiritless?

The writing is on the wall


Some bathrooms have been vandalized and demonstrate a lack of care for the school.

Over the past several years, there has been a change in the climate on campus. Some staff and students have said it has gotten worse, pointing to the lack of attendance at school events, the high level of teacher turnover, the bathroom vandalism and increase in trash across campus. 

The climate of a school is hard to define, but it has to do with the mood. School climate is the quality and character of the school life. It is how it feels to walk around the campus, sit in the stands at a football game, attend the homecoming dance, or listen to a teacher describe a lesson. When students and staff look forward to being at school, the climate is generally good. When students and staff are stressed and anxious, this can affect the climate. 

In this issue, the CS Press decided to take a look at what could be causing this shift in climate, and what, if anything, can be done to change it.

For seniors who are in their last year here, the change in the campus “vibe” is clear. 

“People used to be so excited to come to school and now they are constantly destroying it because they don’t want to be here,” said Devin Strasser, a senior. 

This sentiment was shared by students in other grades as well.

“I feel like nobody wants to be here and that’s why it’s a bad environment. Because if no one wants to be here nobody’s going to learn anything,” said Sophia Barnedo, a sophomore.

Vandalism and trashing campus is definitely a sign that students are not taking pride in the school.

“If everyone loved the school, I feel like nobody would break stuff in the bathrooms or leave trash anymore. We’re sabotaging ourselves, the only school spirit I’ve seen is at football games,” said Zander Bezotte, sophomore.

Although Bezotte said that there is still spirit at football games, there has been a notable difference in how attendees participate.

“It seems like all the students just have given up. People are either not paying attention or sitting down by the end of the first quarter and gone at half time,” said Steven Frimmel, a senior. Another area that stands out is the lack of pride in the campus, the trash thrown on the ground at lunch, and the vandalism of bathrooms. 

“I think what contributes the most is that no one says anything when they see people ruining the campus,” said Strasser.

Student Council is perhaps the main group on campus that works on school pride. One of the main goals for Stuco is to host events which promote school spirit, including Homecoming, assemblies and more.

“Overall, I’d say we’re struggling. Homecoming was the last big event we did, and participation was down. We set out this year knowing we had to try new things in an effort to innovate, but we haven’t figured out what works,” said Cameron Bender, math teachers and Stuco adviser.

With the current lack of interest from students, Stuco is still working to promote spirit, but they have faced more challenges this year than in the past. They have planned for all of the same events that they do every year, but have had to cancel some of them because of the lack of participation. 

“Unfortunately, we had to cancel our spring pep rally due to poor behaviors on campus, so it’s hard to measure the pulse right now. We haven’t cancelled Mr. Cactus Shadows; rather, we moved the date back so we can rethink it and try it a new way. If all goes well, it will be on April 22,” said Bender.

While Stuco has continued to focus on events that bring students together, they cannot fix the problem by themselves. They can offer a variety of events, but if nobody attends, it may not affect school climate.

“Our school tries to have a lot of school spirit, but I don’t think the kids are really into it,” said Amanda Hammersmark, a freshman.

The question that seems to elude many people is what, exactly, has caused this change? Clearly, just a few years ago, the school had more spirit.

“I remember my freshman year, especially during homecoming week, everyone was so excited to be here. I feel like that was the last year everyone was happy, and it’s sad that I only got to experience one year of that because I’ve just seen a big change in the last three years,” said Katelyn Schifferdecker, a junior.

In an effort to answer the question of what has caused this change, Jim Swetter, principal, has organized a climate committee. The group includes a wide sampling of different campus leaders. There is a random selection from veteran teachers, young teachers and teachers that came from other districts. This group has been tasked with figuring out what can be done to improve the climate on campus.

“No one wants to be in a place where they don’t feel comfortable and people are upset and on edge – it can definitely bring you down,” said Swetter.

Based on the responses from students and others, it is clear that there are many things causing this change in attitude on campus. The rest of the stories on this page take a closer look at possible solutions, how freshman year has changed over the years, plus a poll and a Man on the Street, which explore student opinions on the matter