Kaysa Flemk-Joli

Seniors Josh Devore and Duncan Dyer cheer for the varsity boys basketball team.

For the first home football game of the season on Sept. 9, students wore all black to show their spirit.  As the senior football players looked up to the stands, they noticed a crowd they had not seen in past seasons. A student section filled with black-clad Warriors dressed with paint on their faces, holding posters cheering on the players. School spirit was at an all-time high.

School spirit is the heart of a school, as it runs on the pride and sense of community. Spirit allows students and staff to feel part of a connected team and motivates them to work harder for the entire school. It directly increases participation in activities like pep rallies, athletic events, theater performances and other extracurriculars.

Students who play sports take pride in encouraging school spirit since more cheering from the sidelines and spectators in the stands boost athletes’ motivation to play at their highest level. 

“All of these people in the crowd are actually participating in school spirit. It has never happened before,” senior Cate Glover said.

The varsity football team had their best season in 14 years, a winning record of 6-4. Motivated by the fan support, the football team could certainly feel the One Tribe energy. 

“Seeing the stands filled, as packed as they were, I think really made a difference in our performance as a team,” senior quarterback Johnathan Mosley said. “Knowing that everyone in your class and even teachers coming out on their own time to watch us try to win really lifts us as a team and definitely drives the motivation as a team. The best feeling is scoring a touchdown and everyone in the crowd is going crazy and screaming. I also think that students all wearing the same color when a theme was chosen really brought everyone together and it felt like what a high school football game should feel like.” 

Another factor in the rise in school spirit was the nationally recognized band playing in the courtyard on the mornings before home football games. 

The cheerleaders also fed off the increase of energy and fans loved the spirit. “I can really feel the excitement of the crowd, and it feels really good to know that everyone is motivating the team,” senior cheerleader Bella Torres said.

Although spirit is generally associated with students, it is important for teachers and administrators to model school spirit as well. New SGA Adviser Michael DeLeonardo is known for his ability to bring out school spirit in teachers. 

“We are working with One Tribe on tailgates for our athletic games, color-outs and working with other clubs on school to promote their philanthropy,” DeLeonardo said. “We are trying to be more open on input from students to get ideas and give feedback on what they want to see the school do.”

Principal Dr. Colleen Iannitti was excited about the increase in school spirit. “I think we have so many teams this year that have been going above and beyond in record breaking, such as the football team, multiple teams going to districts and regionals, and girls golf winning states for the first time,” Iannitti said. “When our athletic teams are doing great, it definitely brings out energy from students. It is a combination of everyone working together and supporting everything our kids are doing.” In a recent poll given to seniors in Advanced Placement Economics classes, 98.5% believe school spirit has increased because of our winning athletic programs. 

“I think school spirit increased first with the winning football team because it makes it so much more fun when our entire class is wearing the same color, and everyone paints themselves in the parking lot, and then actually winning just takes it to a whole other level,” senior Andrew Newman said.  “I also think since seniors have had so much school spirit, the lower grades see it and look up to us.”

Administration has approved more of SGA’s ideas and has allowed students to showcase their school spirit by permitting students to have tailgates in the parking lots before athletic games, pick colored themes for games and, for those with parking passes, paint their parking stoppers.  Since school spirit has increased so much, and because more students are attending sporting events, SGA has sectioned off a student section in the stands to allow fans to sit together as a way to promote inclusion and the One Tribe spirit. Michael Fleming has been teaching history at JHS for 20 years and said he has never seen our school with this much spirit.

“The seniors are leaving an excellent legacy, so it is up to the underclassmen to continue the tradition,” Fleming said. “Athletes supporting other athletes of other sports is great to see.  I see that especially at the volleyball games. Also, the morning TV announcements generate a lot of interest, so a tip of the cap to Ms. Miller and her crew.”

While seniors are getting ready to graduate, the class of 2021 is looking to them to continue increasing school spirit.

“Since I teach juniors, I can really only comment on them, and they seem to be really involved in the school spirit,” Fleming said. “In fact, most of my students seem to be involved in some sort of after school program and not just athletics, like music and drama for example,” Fleming said. 

Advanced Placement English Literature teacher and Activities Director John Day has also been a model for representing school spirit by holding signs outside his classroom promoting school activities and by emailing teachers to wear themed shirts on Fridays. He said he believes one of the reasons spirit has increased is SGA. He also has attended almost all sporting events this year thus far, including away games. 

“The addition of Mr. DeLeonardo as SGA sponsor has been a tremendous addition and has helped raise school spirit exponentially. I think the leaders of various classes also play a pivotal role in how school spirit is adopted,” Day said. “We have so much to be excited about at a school such as Jupiter, and I am really hoping that some of the things we have planned can get students excited about being a Warrior. Each class has their own challenges in getting students involved, but they have all come together as a whole and have done a great job of increasing school spirit.” Our award-winning dance and cheerleading teams have also contributed to the increase in school spirit. Rebecca Hansen, AICE Global Perspectives teacher and head coach of the Warrior Dance Team, said plans are in the works for additional student participation.             

This basketball season, the dance and JV cheer teams worked together to perform in tandem at basketball games, to be more like the collegiate level. 

“It’s always fun to cheer on winning teams. I would love to see us start some new traditions like things to chant during games, hand signals and movements the whole crowd can do,” Hansen said. “I think that kids are just really stepping up to support each other. It seems like everyone has gotten a taste of how good it feels when the whole student body is involved and cheering on our teams, and I hope that continues.”