School spirit within students gives a sense of family


Alyssa Ferrell

Students show their school spirit by going all out for the first home football game of the year on Sept. 13. The O’s Zone theme was American Night.

Cheers of joy from the O’s Zone, laughter from the color guard, goofy jokes from the band, cries of celebration from the football team, chanting from the cheerleaders, and lighthearted conversations from the dance team are common sounds to high school students at a football game. People become close to their peers while participating in these groups.

The dance team is a prime example of a close-knit group.

“We have a lot of team bonding activities,” senior Maddie Ray said. “We celebrate Christmas with each other, and we’ll go out on team dinners every game day and take every opportunity we can to get to know each other, so by the end of the year I consider a lot of them my sisters.” 

The bonding begins as early as freshman year for band students.

“The overall experience of being a freshman and looking up to all of the upperclassmen goofing around just having fun made it easier for me,” junior Daniel Doell said. “Seeing the people I’m supposed to follow watching Netflix on four different phones stacked on top of each other, on the exact same episode, with a three-second delay, that was kind of funny. It softened the overall appeal.”

Every organization has different bonding activities. For the football team, that means practice most of the week or regular meetings.

“We’re always together, Saturdays we workout, do yoga and watch film over the game,” sophomore Morgan Livingston said.

For others, like the dance team, a set time for bonding is given. 

“A tradition we have is Shower of Praise,” Ray said. “We line up on opposite sides of the hall, then one person will go zigzag through and each person will compliment them and tell them everything they love about each other and we do that for the whole team.”

Groups start to develop a family-like environment, specifically, in Color Guard.

“It feels good to be part of the team; it’s like a family,” freshman Elisa Stubby said. “I know if I need help with something or if I need somebody I can talk to one of these people.”

The cheer squad did not start off with the feeling of family.

“Once they started hanging out around us, they started acting like us more,” senior Lexi Chinn said. “This year is probably the closest we’ve ever been as a team. There’s a lot more seniors that are closer to the underclassmen, in previous years they weren’t really friends with the lower grade levels.”

Most participants have a particular memory that stands out to them from their time in band.

“Last year when the pep band went with the boys basketball team to state, [we were] eating fresh pizza right next to the exhaust of a bus because it was way warmer than the frigid winter breeze,” Doell said.

The O’s Zone follows many traditions, especially on game days.

“Me and a couple of friends always go to Pizza Hut and have wing night before the game, that’s the big thing,” senior Garret Belknap said. “We just hang out, eat wings and get ready for the game.”

Even from a teacher’s perspective, the family qualities the different groups posses are important to the organization’s success.

“Not only do we have talented players, but we have all the other things that go with it,” O’s Zone sponsor and basketball coach Jake Sims said. “What makes us extra special is all the qualities that we demonstrate: how well we communicate, our outlook on things. Looking back on it, I think those guys definitely had a lot of those family qualities you want to have.”

Doing things together as a team is a big factor in the football team feeling close.

“You worked together and found the benefits together and improved together, and you put all the time in together,” sophomore Brendon Wedel said. “So if you win and you’re on the way home on the bus, it’s awesome because everyone’s hyped that they won.”

The O’s Zone help bring students from different grade levels closer.

“Bringing the separated classes into one group is what really causes that feeling,” Belknap said. “We’re there all together, there’s no reason to stay with all the people you’ve known for 12 years.”

For the seniors who have been involved for a while, the family sense is stronger, and therefore, gives them something to miss. 

“Being able to know everyone around you is going to be the biggest difference, so that sense of familiarity and being in a family,” Belknap said.