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Clayton possesses unique ‘spirit’

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The attendance at sporting events often gets Clayton High School criticized for lack of school spirit. CHS students themselves have accepted this as a fact, but what if it’s not true? CHS school spirit might very well be showing in a different way.
Donna Rogers-Beard has been a history at CHS for 20 years. Her previous work experience includes University City High School.
“In University City,” Rogers-Beard said. “As well as in my own high school experience, there was a more outward display of school spirit. There would be more participation at games and more pep rallies.”
“I think there are some schools where it’s tradition,” Assistant Principal Marci Pieper said. “It’s tradition for them to pack the stands and sell out, it’s always been done.”
Sophomore Jillian Sandler joined the Cheerleading Team this year with the goal of doing something about this.
“I thought the spirit was way too low,” Sandler said. “Crowds would never join in on cheers, I wish they’d collaborate a little bit more. I’m really into school spirit and I thought I’d change the squad.”
Pieper believes that school spirit is very cyclical at CHS. She remembers how 10 years ago there was a group called the Mad Hatters who would go out and they’d cheer at games.
“This year we have the Clayton Crazies,” Pieper said. “With the right people in charge [Luhning and Nelke] the Crazies have brought a lot of student participation. They do things a bit differently.”
The perception is that people are no longer attending dances and other school sponsored events. However, this year there were around 400 kids at the Peppers and Homecoming dances, maybe even 350 at the Halloween dance. That is about half of the student body.
“There’s a lot more going on than people realize,” Pieper adds. “School spirit is a lot more than showing up at sporting events. Students are proud of their high school.”
Rogers-Beard sees the pride Clayton students feel in their school. “It shows in how clean our halls are for example,” Rogers-Beard said. “It says students like where they are, they feel good about it. There is not much vandalism, posters aren’t destroyed in the hallway.”
“There’s no vandalizing or much trash,” Custodian Lidia Gollahon said. “Sometimes people are late to class, they get up and they leave, but it’s not bad.”
School spirit ultimately is the pride one feels for their school, and though we do not see outward participation there is certainly a feeling of pride.
CHS students receive many freedoms other schools do not allow their students. “Students know how lucky they are to have these freedoms,” Rogers-Beard said “and they most certainly appreciate it.”
Kelsey McFarland, a junior, doesn’t think people realize how lucky they are.
“Coming from the town I came from,” McFarland said, “it really irks me that kids don’t appreciate this school and what they have.”
It is well known that there is no-cut policy at CHS, and kids are very involved academically as well as in sports. The participation in clubs and academic activity at CHS is outstanding. Almost every single student is involved in one or more school sponsored activity.
“Some people don’t have time to cheer everybody else on because they are so involved themselves,” Rogers-Beard said.
“Our school just has a different feel than other schools, always has,” Pieper said.
“CHS is very college oriented. If a student has to make a choice between an A on a test or attending a sporting event, a Clayton High School student will always pick the test.”
Across the United States there are very many high schools that are traditionally into sports, and CHS is not one of them.
At the end of the day, CHS students should recognize the ways in which their high school is unique. Though our participation at sporting events may not be part of the tradition, it says something about our school that academics come first. It may not be a very obvious kind of school spirit, but it’s there. 

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The student news site of Clayton High School.
Clayton possesses unique ‘spirit’