Flat participation: why it’s important to engage in Walnut’s events


Faith Wallace

Many students aren’t participating in school activities instead choosing to do things such as hanging out with friends. However engaging in school activities can create a better learning environment and induce school spirit.

The WHHS assembly at the gymnasium brought cheers as the ‘Eagle Rumble’ boomed through the hallways. Student leaders grabbed volunteers from the crowd to keep the audience on their toes. As the assembly ended, the warm and friendly environment faded while the students tried to guide themselves through the crowded hallways. Despite the cheers, in the air there seemed to be a lack of spirit. Now, the lackluster school spirit at WHHS seems to transcend with online learning.

Currently, there has been a school spirit event for every grade. For middle schoolers it was the Boogie Bash, for freshmen it was Halloween Trivia, and so on. The goal of these community activities is to ensure people feel included, form social skills and create friendships whilst maintaining the relationships they have. Getting to know classmates can help students better understand the world around them. It helps everyone feel motivated to work together and create a team. 

Teachers often do community-building activities to help foster a better classroom environment. Studies show that when students share their thoughts and passions, it can help them create empathy for each other and curb bullying. It can also help the teacher’s curriculum become more student-focused and aids students to become stronger team members in the future. 

Classroom community exercises work towards the common goal of learning while school community activities work towards making and strengthening bonds with those inside the school, as well as the spirit of the school.  Schools should promote building community as well as student activities because they build character, communication, commitment, leadership and passion. Student activities break down social barriers and bring up confidence.

So why do students not participate in these school activities? If it’s an activity where they have to put themselves out there, some are already discouraged not to go. When these events have the same formula but are just put online it adds a disincentive for those who don’t want to spend more time on their screen. When individuals have several things competing for their attention such as their social life and grades, school activities might not take priority in their time. Others may not remember the activity existed at all. There can only be so many Schoology posts in one day without the website crashing. Many people are not willing to read multiple Schoology posts in one day especially when it isn’t related to their classes. 

People aren’t forced to stay in virtual meetings, so the activity needs to give them a reason to show up. Student leaders can consider the following advice. In the first few minutes make students feel comfortable and engaged by using humor and focusing on issues that face the community. Additionally, when looking into school community activities, people may find no reason for them to do it at all. Giving people a reason to come such as competitions that include prizes may increase turnout. 

Is a lack of school spirit a unique thing to WHHS? It’s uncertain, however if there’s anyone who can beat this it’s the Eagles. 


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