Katz Meow: Where is Latin's School Spirit?

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Ella Katz It goes without saying that in the Latin community, there is an evident lack of spirit. Bleeding orange and blue for spirit Fridays feels like a chore, Mr. Dunn’s incredible efforts to encourage Roman pride have been overlooked, and you don’t wear your boathouse jacket if you aren’t a first semester freshman—that’s just not a thing. But the real question is, why does Latin lack spirit? The student body seems to have no problem being spirited about our academics or omelette Thursday or our extracurricular activities, so why doesn’t that spirit translate to our wardrobes of choice or our turnout at sporting events? The first thing that came to mind for me was the absence of a football team. High schools and colleges that have football teams tend to be more spirited and embody more of the “ra ra” lifestyle in their community. Friday night football is a time for the community to unite and celebrate their shared love of their school—like Friday Night Lights, but real life. Junior Ryan Unikel tells the Forum why he thinks Latin lacks such pep: “The ISL isn’t a very competitive sporting league, which I think directly equates with our lack of spirit.” Many students feel similarly to Ryan in that our lack of spirit is rooted in the ISL’s management and the lack of a football team. However, Latin’s lack of spirit could also be due to the unavoidable culture of urban schools. Urban schools tend to prioritize academic performance over school spirit. It isn’t even the school prioritizing the academics, but it is one of the cons of being located smack dab in the middle of a hustling and bustling city like Chicago. There are just more entertaining things to do than sit at your friends’ two hour soccer game. Senior Katy Burg gives some insight on this point. “It definitely seems like other schools put more time and energy into a spirited student body. I feel like if members of our community put more time and effort into the spirit of Latin, we could revamp what spirit at Latin looks like. But I do feel like it’s the same deal for most city schools. I don’t even think our lack of spirit is just because we don’t have a football team. We have so much Latin pride, but our school just doesn’t foster an environment where we feel the need to advertise that pride.” Katy’s commentary is spot on. Maybe it isn’t a matter of spirit, but a matter of making that spirit public knowledge. Senior Amanda Green had a different take on the problem. “I think people at Latin like to express themselves through their clothes on a daily basis,” she said. “Basically, they don’t want to have to wear an orange or blue shirt every week. Since latin students and teachers alike are passionate about what they wear to school, I feel like if we maybe had latin gear that was more “trendy” Latin could have the potential of being more spirited.” As Amanda pointed out, being spirited shouldn’t be a chore or be forced, but should be something exciting and anticipated, which at Latin, obviously isn’t the case.   One of the most amazing parts about Latin is the rigorous curriculum and culture of the school. Nevertheless, “I think that people at Latin take themselves a little to seriously, and that’s why there’s a lack of spirit” said senior Mandy Duncan. Mandy’s point makes total sense. This is all sorts of sad to come to terms with, as the athletics department is constantly making an effort to organize fan buses and increase student turnout at sporting events. In all honesty, though, it isn’t even spirit that the Latin community lacks, as we are spirited about pretty much every other aspect of our school. What we truly lack is roman pride; not in the halls of course, but in publicizing our love for the Roman to the rest of the world. Forget about the athletics — at the end of the day, we are spirited in our very own, unique, Roman way.  So whether it be watching a scholastic bowl tournament, supporting winter play, or cheering at the Latin v. Parker game, come out and support your fellow Romans! There are so many ways to show your love for our Roman and get spirited — even if you aren’t bleeding orange and blue. ]]>