When I came to MacDuffie as a ninth-grader, school spirit seemed to be alive and well at MacDuffie through traditions like song contest and the Halloween costume contest. During the senior chant, the seniors would suddenly be overcome with an enthusiasm that would shoot them out of their seats and make them loudly proclaim “Seniors! Seniors! S-E-N-I-O-R-S!” while the lower classes responded with increasingly less vigor. Little did I know, the performance of the underclassman during this chant would set the precedent for MacDuffie’s school spirit over the course of the next few years.
While my classmates and I have come to the consensus that the MacDuffie community seems to have less school spirit in comparison to three or four years ago, it wasn’t until last week that it was glaringly obvious to me. During the Muse’s Halloween costume contest, few dared to volunteer for any of the assembly games, and participation was noticeably lower than in past years for the contest itself. And one week later when the senior chant began in assembly, less than a handful of seniors stood up to recite the chant.
During my freshman year, MacDuffie’s sports teams were constantly winning championships and many students were chosen to play on all-star teams—Girls Varsity Soccer had a 40+-game winning streak, Boys Cross Country won the CISAC championship, and Girls’ Volleyball made it to the final, just to name a few. Yet MacDuffie’s achievements weren’t exclusive to athletics; the theater program was largely comprised of experienced upperclassmen, with the memorable productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Anything Goes serving as a testament to their talent. Even in the realm of academic activities, MacDuffie had a strong presence—the Mock Trial team won a record number of trials, while the MacDuffie Thinks Big Club completed a cross-country road trip and gained recognition at the country’s most prestigious universities along the way.
But as the years went on, I noticed that the overall atmosphere at MacDuffie was changing with the departure of each senior class. These seniors were moving on to top colleges and other impressive opportunities, but with them they seemed to be taking away part of MacDuffie’s unique character, leaving a leadership vacuum that could not be easily filled by new students. Now, I’m not saying that some of that leadership hasn’t been restored by new students—new clubs such as Light Art and Barbershop Club are great examples of students taking the initiative to pursue their passions within the community—but there is a noticeable lack of spirit in the overall atmosphere of MacDuffie due to the absence of influential seniors.
For example, the Girls Varsity Soccer team did not have a corresponding Junior Varsity team due to lack of participation (and the fact that nearly the entire varsity team graduated last year), while both Girls and Boys Cross Country have experienced a loss of their team’s fastest runners as each senior class graduates. Even as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Magnet, I feel the pressure to maintain community interest in MacDuffie’s newspaper and uphold the legacy of the previous Editors-in-Chief, as I feel responsible for preventing The Magnet from becoming a casualty of this trend.
Yet I am glad to see that I am not the only one to notice this phenomenon, as other members of the community have been making visible efforts to revive the spirit of MacDuffie from three or four years prior. Student body president Martina Lopez has gone to great lengths to make morning assembly more exciting—whether she is standing in the center of the gym with a microphone belting out a song while students arrive at assembly or encouraging others to join her as she dances around the gym, she is setting a new precedent for her position as president. Along with Lopez, Student Body Vice President Cassidy Lu and Head Duty Prefect Derrick Cruz have also done their fair share to increase school spirit, most recently giving students the opportunity to win donuts for dressing up during spirit week.
But beyond the student government, each and every one of us at MacDuffie—especially the juniors and seniors—has the ability to step up and work towards creating a more enthusiastic atmosphere. I will admit that I am not saying this from the perspective of Martina or Cassidy; I have not been doing all that I can to achieve this goal, but rather waiting for my peers to take the first step in yelling the senior chant or going all-out for spirit week. Thus, I would like to pledge that I will commit to recreating the environment of my first year at MacDuffie by participating more in all-school events and hope that any of my classmates reading this will be motivated to do the same.