We students often complain that Aragon has little spirit. We compare ourselves to other schools — especially a certain orange and black one — and seem to focus on the most visible manifestations of school pride, such as the number of people who dress up for spirit days or attend rallies. However, are these truly a reflection of spirit? Perhaps solving Aragon’s lack of spirit comes down to changing our definition of what spirit is.
Right now, “spirit” seems to be defined by participation in certain events. At school rallies and big games, there is the expectation that students should show up and get loud as a way to show Don pride. Yet for every dedicated Don who faithfully attends rallies or sporting events, there are others who rarely, if ever, do.
As we look at it now, this lack of attendance seems to demonstrate that students do not care enough about their school to show up. However, we may not be seeing the full picture when we come to these cynical conclusions.
The students who aren’t cheering for the basketball team at the quad? They are at a soccer game, sprinting down the soccer pitch. They are supporting a friend at a dance recital. They are in the library, tutoring fellow students.
It may not fit the standard idea of school spirit, but all of these activities demonstrate students actively contributing to Aragon’s community. Maybe school spirit shouldn’t only be about participating in spirit days, games and rallies, but also about having a community in which students both support their school and are supported by their school. Given all the students who work in Service Commission, participate in the Big Buddies program, and create welcoming environments in clubs such as Gender and Sexuality Awareness club, it’s clear that Aragon actually excels at this.
Now, what about rallies though? Even if students aren’t at the rallies — and are instead spending time with friends, are these friends not fellow Dons who demonstrate pride in their school by simply valuing Aragon as place where they can be happy together?
So yes, those who are at every event are strong supporters of our community, but we need not have massive pilgrimages to the homecoming game to show that we love and appreciate Aragon. Given that Aragon prides itself in celebrating differences, it’s actually a good thing that students feel comfortable contributing to the school in their own way instead of feeling pressured to conform to a more limited understanding of what spirit is.
Respecting differences also extends to those who, even with the expanded definition of spirit, are not participants in the school. Whether or not someone wants to give back to their community is their choice, and we should ultimately respect their decision. Pressuring someone into getting involved would be counterproductive to making the school a more accepting place.
Leadership is aware that spirit is about community, and, through projects like Friendsgiving, teacher appreciation posters and club fairs, they have shown their commitment to creating a supportive environment.
Leadership can also further their efforts in multiple ways including broadening the sports they promote by awarding spirit points to students who attend games besides basketball and football. Leadership could also work on promoting clubs that focus on giving back to Aragon, such as Tutor Club and Black Student Union.
Regardless of what Leadership does, recognizing the strength of the Aragon community and working to make it stronger is ultimately the task of all students. Spirit, like life, is what one makes of it.