School Spirit

(Author’s note: At the private girls’ school I work at as a security guard, they have a weekly award to someone who represents “School Spirit”. It can go to a student, a teacher, administrative staff, anyone connected to the school. I was picked a few months ago.

And, now, I had to pick the next winner. Since I know very few  in the school, I decided to write my essay called “School  Spirit”, describing the values what I think the term “school  spirit” should encompass. And from that, those connected to the  award could pick the next winner rather than leave it up to me. In the end, I had to pick the winner, choosing 2 sisters – one  in grade three; the other in grade 4. I was told my selections  were wise choices.

Here, then, is my description of the values school spirit should encompass. And it should be noted many of these values don’t apply only to educational institutions; they can apply to other environments and communities as well.)

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What is school spirit? It’s more than being “book smart.” You can be intelligent and not have school spirit. It’s about values and principles to live by. It’s about genuine character.

This person insists on herself (or himself), never imitating as Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in”Self Reliance.”

She is a team player, not interested in promoting herself but rather promoting and building up others. She helps to bring forth the gifts and talents of people around her as the true meaning of education advocates. (Educate comes from the Latin word “educere”
meaning “to bring forth” or “draw out.”). She acknowledges her responsibility to those around her.

She lives the “Golden Rule” – treat others as she would like to be treated – and not just talks about it.

Though it’s an extremely tall order, this person tries to practice selfless service like Albert Schweitzer, Mother Theresa and Jesus Christ lived by. And if she can be just a tiny fraction of what these humanitarians practiced, she should be proud.

This person volunteers her time for the hurting, the lonely, the less fortunate not because school curriculum says you have to but rather volunteering just makes one feel good – for the recipient as well as the giver.

And she realizes not giving is just as bad as inflicting pain – she is allowing someone’s pain to continue. And the only difference (if there is a difference) is the severity of that pain.

This person sows love where there is hatred, faith where there is doubt, hope where there is despair etc., etc., as one would ask by reciting the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

She provides wisdom for a person’s pain, confusion, heartaches. She is there for other peoples’ hurts. She is a true friend.

She knows humility, can admit when she is wrong and is considerate of others as described in Ann Landers’s essay: “What is Class?”

She exalts courage by confronting her own fears, anxieties, setbacks, heartaches which are often faced alone. And through perseverance, she is victorious. And she is a role model to others because of this perseverance.

She realizes if she can help just one person, she shall not live in vain as Emily Dickinson writes.

She has made a difference. To her fellow students. To her teachers. To her family. To her school. To her community. For without her, the world would be a little darker.