We’ve talked a lot over the summer and into this fall about how to keep school spirit high when we can’t get together to literally cheer each other on. In some ways, that’s even harder now that many sports teams – the backbone of much of our most visible school spirit – are still sidelined.
But, hey! School administrators, teachers, students and parents are not only resilient, you are creative.
And the truth is, anything you can do in person, you can do virtually. Well, almost. You just have to do it a bit differently, right? Virtual spirit boosters and awards have taken off around the country – you might say they have Zoomed into our daily lives as part of our school’s new normal.
Giving awards is good for us
All awards build spirit by reminding everyone what outstanding team members we have among us. When we honor them, we honor ourselves and our school. We give out awards for academic endeavors – math and debate competitions, recognizing new Honor Society students, etc. We give out awards for sports and accomplishments in the arts.
You can do that virtually as well as in person.
Certainly, you could live-stream the event. Even with your school’s video conferencing system in place, event streaming can get complicated, as you’ll need to coordinate participants all doing their thing from Somewhere Else. To put on a quality show, you’ll need rehearsals, etc. So you might want to save this level of work for major ceremonies, such as graduation.
On the other hand, live streaming doesn’t have to be so formal, and there are other ways to go virtual to promote school spirit and reward those who are stepping up to academic and personal challenges. Especially using social media.
But, sometimes, we just want to have FUN!
With that in mind, here are some fun “excuses” for spirit boosting virtual activities. Enjoy them for the sheer fun they add and the ways they bring your student body, faculty and families together. Better yet, transform them into challenges and give out awards for the most spirited participation!
Hold a Virtual Pep Rally
Have the cheerleaders teach everyone a new cheer (using hot moves each person can do on their own). Have the band play the fight song (they’ve been practicing remotely so they’re good at it by now). Have a couple of coaches or athletes talk about how they’re practicing and keeping team spirit alive. If games are underway, have them talk about highlights and show clips.
Designate virtual theme weeks
One school we know issues challenges to each homeroom and awards a prize to the class with the most participants. Virtual theme weeks are a great way to have everyone feel more involved.
Hold a spirit wear design contest
Designate a specific spirit wear item, then challenge individuals or classes to design their own twist on your logo. Or give them 2 or 3 choices – a tee, a cap, and a mask. (Naturally, you will want to add these decorated items to your online store.)
Host “Our School’s Got Talent.”
Singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, who can stand on their head the longest – more categories mean more awards. Do it as a one-night show, going “live” to each participant for their turn in the limelight, then letting your panel of judges remotely confer to announce the winners. Use dressed-up volunteer couriers to literally drive awards to each recipient’s home.
Or ask everyone to submit a short video clip then post them on Instagram for viewing and “people’s choice” style voting.
Hold virtual trivia competitions for families.
Don’t forget to include school-related trivia questions!
Team up with your PTO/PTA
Teaming up with your PTO/PTA is a great way to give back to the community. A virtual event that encourages the entire community to participate is a great way to build even stronger relationships.
You get the idea. Whatever virtual spirit-builders you choose, be sure they have universal appeal because you can’t strengthen sense of belonging without inclusion.
And what’s the best possible award for all this spirited activity?
Often, the simple act of sharing our school spirit with one another is reward enough. We feel energized and uplifted. But we all love to get a prize, too. And what could be better than a gift card to your school’s online store! Now that everyone’s in the spirit, they are sure to want more spirit wear.
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