What is the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the phrase, “school spirit?”
Many peoples’ minds will jump to a scene of students gathered together to cheer for their school’s football team, or perhaps cheerleaders being lifted up at a basketball game.
Although these are fantastic examples, school spirit at Taylor extends its roots much deeper than just sports.
On The Echo Editorial Board, we strive to display a sense of school spirit through communicating important and exciting news, events, people and information. We believe that school spirit is an important and valued aspect of being part of the Taylor community and can be displayed in a variety of different ways.
“Does school spirit mean wearing Taylor branding or the iconic Friday shirt? Absolutely. But that's only part of it,” junior Brigham Johnson said. “School spirit is finding that aspect of Taylor that makes you proud to attend a school in the middle of cornfields, and then getting really involved in it. That might be sports, performing arts, music leadership, volunteering, student life or connecting with people in a meaningful way.”
One of the ways Johnson shows his school spirit is through wearing his purple and orange striped “Friday” shirt every Friday during chapel and yelling at the top of his lungs to get the entire student body excited about Friday.
Johnson’s example of school spirit displays the uniqueness of the student body. Each student is able to represent Taylor and show appreciation for their school in a fresh way.
In addition to Friday chapels, chorale concerts, Silent Night, move-in day, Airband, Envision Film Festival, Taylathon, Nostalgia Night and dozens of other events are all avenues through which Taylor students display a sense of school spirit throughout the year.
“(School spirit is) like a campfire at summer camp,” Johnson said. “Those shared experiences bond you with friends for a lifetime. When everyone is wearing ridiculous costumes at a basketball game and then scream like maniacs at the 10th point, THAT is school spirit. THAT is the stuff you tell your grandkids about.”
This strong sense of school spirit is not only present within the student body, but also among faculty, staff, alumni and administration.
“School spirit is kind of like another way of saying gratitude for a place,” Director of Scholarships Michael Mortensen (‘91) said. “I’ve always said that my most important decision was to accept Jesus. My second most important decision was to choose Taylor.”
Mortensen met his wife at Taylor and asked her to marry him under the Rice Bell Tower. He firmly believes that his time at Taylor marked him and made him into the person and Christ-follower he is today.
He wears his purple gear everywhere he goes to display his school spirit and enjoys making connections with Taylor alumni and students in airports and other locations.
“You just automatically feel like you’re part of a greater family,” Mortensen said. “And that’s a great feeling to know that there’s not too many places in the world I can go and not experience some element of Taylor spirit because of what God does through this place.”
Junior Parker Neuman and sophomore Seth Griswold make a strong effort to spread school spirit everywhere they go.
“School spirit does not have to be restricted or limited to solely sporting events,” Neuman said. “Seth Griswold and I are trying to ignite school spirit among our peers in classes, at the DC or Stu through our conversations and actions.”
Neuman also believes that it is important to come together as a student body to support our sports teams. Although it may feel easy or natural for students to stick with their wings or floors at these events, he stresses the value of the unification of students for a common purpose.
It is important for students to display school spirit in some way because it unites the community of Taylor. Additionally, it allows the student body to serve God through their actions.
“School spirit isn't what you say about your school … it's what others say about your school,” Johnson said. “Why? Because school spirit is truly about the way each student lives their lives to serve God, each other and the community. It's about being intentional and building friendships and feeling connected to a group of people for the rest of your life.”