By: Quinn Bryant
What comes to mind when you hear school spirit? The BSA Muse anonymously polled 15 students to answer this question.
The polled students felt student-led events, school pride, and pep rallies commonly symbolize school spirit. Pep rallies are typical at traditional high schools. However, a school like BSA can’t have them without changing its persona and structure.
“This is not a traditional high school, let’s not try to make it look like one,” says Dawn Strickland, assistant Principal for Student Support at Baltimore School for the Arts.
Even with the untraditional nature of BSA, students still find school spirit in other ways. In the poll, students felt BSA displayed the most school spirit through school performances that leave students in a cheering roar, like Expressions, the Black History Month showcase, and the Hispanic Heritage showcase.
However, those moments still left 40 percent of the polled participants to question whether they have school spirit or not. Strickland described Spirit Week as “a time for us as a family to celebrate our beloved BSA”, and 33.3 percent of the poll would somewhat agree that there is a sense of camaraderie and community between the students and staff during spirit week.
Like Spirit Week at many other high schools, each day of BSA’s Spirit Week is devoted to a different theme. The first day of Spirit Week was Halloween when everyone came to school dressed in their costumes.
“This place is going to be on fire on Halloween, no matter what we do,” says Stickland.
The second day was Rainbow Day, where each grade, art staff, and academic staff had different colors. The day was originally supposed to be School Colors Day; students would have worn BSA’s newly chosen school colors, black and purple, which coincidentally were Strickland’s school colors when she was a student at BSA. The day was changed, according to Strickland, because students advocated that a rainbow day was a better representation of BSA.
Wednesday was Twin Day, a day to be someone’s twin and dress alike. Thursday is Throwback Thursday when students throwback to the year 1979–the year BSA was founded. Although the theme is the late 70s, Strickland commented, “We can throw it any way we want, as long as we throw it together.”
The week concludes with pajama day on Friday.
Although BSA has moments of school pride and togetherness, Strickland believes that school spirit is still a growth area for the community. What might seem like a fun week to give students a sense of high school normalcy at this pre-professional high school, is a much larger initiative to not only increase school spirit traditions but to also bring the future generation of alumni back to BSA.
Strickland believes BSA’s menial traditions are not strong enough. Strickland stated that “If it were, things like our homecoming would be flooded with alumni, which isn’t happening.”
Strickland is advocating to add spirit week to a list of many experiences BSA will see as an effort to get more alumni to return. The way one gets alumni to return, according to Strickland, is to give them something to remember.
“These alumni at other schools like Western and Dunbar, come back year after year because of the social experiences they got when they were students,” says Strickland.
The school administration’s goal, now, is to capitalize on BSA’s uniqueness to create original, creative, and fun traditions and events that draw alumni back. After all, it’s BSA’s uniqueness that has so many students auditioning here every year.
“I feel like even if spirit week this year isn’t the most fun or creative, it’s a good opportunity to come together as a community,” said one of the polled students. “I complain about BSA a lot, but I would rather die than go anywhere else. We’re the best school ever.”
To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Headline photo caption:
Seniors Ada Lojzim and Sam Canick in their Halloween costumes. Photo by Ella Haber for the BSA Muse.