School Spirit: Renewed for Another Season?

By Sara Heimlich, Features Editor

The 2016-17 school year: finally the year of renewed school spirit at CHS?

In the first quarter of the first home football game, the student section was filled with painted faces and the crowd was spotted with blue and green. But by the fourth quarter, few students and parents lingered.

“A good football team needs a good student section, and a good student section needs a good football team,” SGA co-president Ben Birnbach said. “One needs to come first.”

Several groups in the CHS community are determined to keep people at the games and cheering all the way through — despite the scoreboard.

Decorated stands, cookouts, and new shirts are among the initiatives being made to boost spirit.

“We feel the best way to increase school spirit is to change CHS’s culture,” Birnbach said. “This all starts with getting the freshmen to buy into the idea we’re trying to sell. While upperclassmen saw the poor behavior of former CHS students such as leaving football games early, the freshmen and sophomores can still be convinced CHS is a great place.”

The school and community that football coach and CHS alumnus Albert Song remembers from ‘90s is far different from the CHS of today.

“Last year, the stands seemed empty, and I didn’t see a lot of things that express community at school,” Song said. “When I was [a student] at CHS, there were banners hung around the school, pep rallies all the time and everyone dressed up and had painted their face. Teachers wore jerseys, a tradition I brought back. The stadium from one hill to the other was completely filled, top to bottom. Not just CHS students and families, but the entire community was here every Friday night.”

Students often disregard football games as an event they aren’t willing to sacrifice their Friday night for.

“Academics come first for CHS students,” SGA sponsor Shelley Perrett said. “They’re exhausted from school so coming back to school on Friday night is the last thing they want to do. The spirit at CHS is oftentimes ‘If I’m not directly involved, I don’t go,’ but we need to support each other. If you come, you just may have a good time, too.”

The Booster Club, an organization of volunteers mainly made up of parents, is initiating improvements for school spirit at CHS, namely in their athletics. They have working with SGA and Leadership class to brainstorm ideas, and have been selling new merchandise, like the stick-on phone pockets (available for $4 at the school store).

“[The Booster Club] helps to enhance school spirit and raise money for CHS athletics,” said Leslie Janis, president of the Booster Club and mother of two CHS athletes. “The more we volunteer, the more we can give back to the students and the school.”

Several other groups, including SGA and leadership class, have come together to bring spirit and pride back into the bulldog vocabulary.

Dawg Pound Decoration

Banners will hang from the stands and blue and green Solo cups will fill the fences.

“With decorated stands, people would feel the energy and feed off of it,” sophomore Sophia Veizis said as she cheered on the football team at the Einstein game.

Sports Season Passes

Fall sports passes are available for $18 through the Booster Club.

“Student passes makes going to the games easier because the students do not have to think about buying tickets or waiting in line before each game,” Janis said. “We also hope student passes increase the number of kids who are committed to going to the games. If you spend the money up front, maybe you will be more committed to going.”

A purchase of the season pass enters the buyer in a raffle for a chance to win a V.I.P. spot in the stands.

Chant Collaborations

New cheers and dances are being created to increase crowd participation and involvement in games.

“The Poms and cheerleaders are working together to collectively increase the students’ energy at the games,” Janis said.

Cookout Fridays

Cookouts will now be held on the track inside the stadium at 5:30 p.m. before every home football game.

According to senior Jack Skilton, cookouts are a great place to meet up with friends and meet new people too.

Kan Jam, Spikeball, and Cornhole are among the activities that will be offered at cookouts. Free food is available to those wearing their “Dawg Pound” shirts.

“Our sense of community is not up to par,” Birnbach said. “Creating somewhere you want to be, not have to be, is our goal. We have really tried to stress the cookouts this year.”

Newly-designed pocket “Dawg Pound” t-shirts, which are the ticket into cookouts, are available for $15 in room 229.

Game Giveaways

Bead necklaces, face paint, tattoos, CHS spirit wear and glow sticks will be given to students to encourage them to stay all four quarters.

Boost in Football Team Morale

Song anticipates an improvement in the team this season and encourages his players to keep the ball rolling with school spirit.

“I ask football players to sit in the front of the classroom because we care how teachers see us and hope to bring them on board to support us with spirit,” Song said. “High school football is high school Americana: cheer on a team towards a common goal. We are looking forward to a better season this year to make games more exciting for the fans.”

Home games will be Sept. 30 (Whitman), Oct. 14 (B-CC) and Oct. 28 (Wootton).