By Mr. Guyette, Aviator adviser 

School spirit is tough to define and even harder to measure.

Is it how many De Pere High School students attend athletic events, plays or concerts? Is it how many people join sports or clubs? Is it how many people participate in dress-up days, lunch activities, spirit weeks or Redbird Rally booths?

Over the years, I have listened to students who love to discuss whether or not we have school spirit at De Pere, but I’m not sure if even they know what the criteria are.

Furthermore, is it possible to get everyone to have it?

Sure, our school looked great at the WIAA girls state basketball tournament, when our crowd size and enthusiasm clearly outshone other student bodies. But did that show that we have tremendous school spirit, or does it just mean that we all really love sports?

Jace Milligan of our Student Council has had a hand in many ideas over the years, trying to generate enthusiasm among the students with a variety of engaging activities.

Most recently, he headed the What-to-Wear-Wednesday, encouraging unique dress-up ideas for an otherwise monotonous school day.

“It wasn’t the most successful project, but it gives people a common ground,” Milligan, a senior headed to UW-Madison next year, said. “School spirit thrives when people are together and participating in the same thing, even if they really don’t know each other.”

Ah, yes. When a school has 1,300-plus students, finding commonality is no easy task. Each class has its own pockets of groups and cliques, and getting them to care about and support one another is nearly impossible.

Sports attendance is one way to measure school spirit, but only a fool would say that it’s the only way.

If students don’t attend the art show, the orchestra concert, or the school musical, does that mean we don’t have school spirit? If no one dresses up for a theme or tries to eat a Klondike bar at lunch, is all the cheering at the sporting events for naught?

I give credit to Milligan, the Student Council in general, and other groups that try to bring people together. It’s a never-ending battle because we will never have 100 percent participation and buy-in.

We can always do better.

Kind of like teaching.

“School spirit is more of how unified you feel about your school, how close you feel to each other, and how much students participate in a variety of things,” Milligan said. “It’s the overall feel of the school, more than just the attendance at a football game.”

It’s a great day to be a Redbird. Right?

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