How Teachers Influence South’s School Spirit

Photo by Adam Cohen

By Adam Cohen
News Reporter

As Denebola continues to investigate the culture of South spirit, some South teachers agreed to sit down with Denebola and discuss their role in promoting a common South identity.

History teacher Michael Kozuch

When is the last time you let a class out for a school performance or enrichment program that was not mandatory?

The most recent one was right before the winter break. It was the winter concert. A couple of my classes were able to go.

When was the last time you did not give homework because of a performance or enrichment program?

I don’t do blanket no homework because of a school performance or enrichment programs or anything like that. If students need an extension or something, they can talk to me about it. Generally, we try to get students to manage these extracurricular activities in the context of their academic responsibilities, which I think are the first requirements.

When is the last time you attended a NSHS performance or enrichment program that was not mandatory?

Back in the fall. It was probably October. Soccer games.

Do you think having school spirit is important? And how does school spirit contribute to the overall school community?

I think school spirit is important. I think it is something that is related to patriotism and nationalism. I think we want to have a positive feeling for our country. We want to have a positive feeling for our school. But I think we have had some incidences where school spirit has turned into people turning against each other rather than being with each other. And we also see sometimes if too much rivalry between schools happens, there can be some negative things said at basketball games or other types of events. So, we have to be careful that our excitement doesn’t turn into negativity.

What can we do as a school to improve school spirit? And what can you do as a teacher?

I think some of the activities that the class officers have done have been really good like days where we dress in blue and orange or other types of activities that bring everyone together and try to make us feel as one kind of community. The pep rally can be a potential for school spirit. I think there’s been some issues. Hopefully those will get addressed. I think there’s other ways to celebrate our accomplishments besides athletics. This school has an amazing arts and music and other things that I think if more people attended those events it would bring the community together. The other thing that I was trying to do to bring people together were the debates around the ballot questions and last year the debates around the primaries. Having people come together around issues that they care about I think is something that’s important. From my perspective for what I need to do I think is try to attend activities. I like to do that I just need to find out about things more ahead of time. It’s also harder for teachers who live far away from school.

Math teacher Charles Petrizzi

When is the last time you let a class out for a school performance or enrichment program that was not mandatory?

I think that was probably Tertulia last year.

When was the last time you did not give homework because of a performance or enrichment program?

That’s a student by student basis. Some students have approached me where they have a really heavy workload and an extracurricular activity that’s overwhelming like a play. Like some plays run Thursday through Sunday and they couldn’t get their homework done by Monday, so I gave them an extension. It might happen a couple times a year.

When is the last time you attended a NSHS performance or enrichment program that was not mandatory?

I attended one of the plays two years ago. I don’t know which one. I can’t remember the name, but one of my students was in it two years ago.

Do you think having school spirit is important? And how does school spirit contribute to the overall school community?

I think school spirit is very important to a school and the community. It provides enrichment. It provides comradery. It can bring a school together and conversely break a school apart if it’s not there.

What can we do as a school to improve school spirit? And what can you do as a teacher?

I think the teachers should be a little more lenient in accommodating students who have extracurricular activities. Especially if assignment are given on Thursday or Friday and they say they are due Monday. If they are given well in advance like a week or two then it’s the student’s responsibility. Like some teachers do this; they assign homework the next night. I think they should be a little more flexible with that. As a school, I think it’s kind of top down. More of the administration I know some of them do go [to] a lot of the sporting events and I know few teachers do unless they like the sport a lot or they are invested by having kids play that sport. I have two sons who are on the gymnastics team. So, I actually have gone to those meets this year. So, indirectly I went to those. A couple years ago I had a lot of the girls’ hockey team in my class and I went to some of their games. So, I think if you have a vested interest you do, but if you don’t, I think it’s a lot harder. You have to build relationships with your students.

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