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We've got spirit, how about you?

January 03, 2002

We've got spirit, how about you?



By LAURA ERNDE
laurae@herald-mail.com


Before home football games, Hedgesville Eagles players invite their friends and neighbors to sign up to attend.

It's just one way Hedgesville fosters school spirit, said Principal Don Dellinger.

Dellinger and other Tri-State area principals said school spirit is not something to be taken for granted and its importance in a school's success cannot be underestimated.

More than just cheering at sporting events, school spirit creates a sense of unity that permeates a school, they said.

"If you have good school spirit, it makes everything else run smoother. It makes my job a whole lot easier," Dellinger said.

Apathy is a killer in all things, said Greencastle-Antrim High School Principal Jack Appleby.

Appleby and his staff communicate with parents through e-mail and newsletters to make sure the dinner table conversation about school is positive, Appleby said.

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"We have a unique culture we've fostered. I just hope it continues," he said.

That culture is easier to cultivate in small communities such as Hedgesville, W.Va., and Greencastle, Pa., where social life revolves around school activities, they said.

"I think school spirit begins within the community itself," Dellinger said.

Parents need to set the example for their children that school activities are important, said South Hagerstown High School Principal Michael Shockey.

"That's often overlooked," he said.

Shockey said he's seen an increase in school spirit at South in recent years.

A winning sports team helps boost school spirit, principals said.

School spirit also comes into play with non-sporting activities such as band and choir.

At Hedgesville High School's Christmas concert the auditorium, which can seat 500, was nearly full.

When parents show up to watch their student play a sport or sing in the choir it boosts the student's confidence and inspires them to perform better.

While teenagers aren't always willing to admit it, they crave the attention, Dellinger said.

"What we try to communicate to parents is how important it is for them to be involved," he said.

School spirit requires cooperation among teachers, parents and students, Dellinger said.

Every spring, Hedgesville High School sponsors an invitational track meet with the volunteer effort of 80 teachers and parents.

"That's pretty good," Dellinger said.

When you get the answering machine at Hedgesville High School, the recording reminds you that you have called the "home of the Eagles."

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