Succeeding with Spirit

School spirit this year is better than ever

School+Spirit

Photo: Aidan Lee

UPrep students celebrate while watching the varsity girls basketball game against Cedar Park. Over the past year, student attendance at sports games has gone up.

Watching a classic high school underdog movie, you see the best and worst of school spirit. At the start, nobody watches their games except for the players’ families. By the end of the film, everybody and their dog will be watching the team win the state championship for the first time in the school’s history. 

University Prep may not fit at either end of the spectrum, but for the last few years, we were close to the start of the film, at least according to a Puma Press article published four years ago about school spirit. In the article, students were quoted describing UPrep’s spirit as “lacking” and “not something to be proud of.”

This year, Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School Ken Jaffe has been impressed by the increase in school spirit. 

“I would say this [year] has been one of [the] better [spirit wise] in recent memory for me,” he said. “I think the ASB, in particular, has tried to develop a culture, and we have certain kids who are taking leadership roles in that.”

Healthy competition amongst the classes is good, but I think a really spirited school is all together at the same time.”

— Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School Ken Jaffe

UPrep’s students and staff, including senior
Jacob Fried, and Director of Athletics Rebecca Moe have spearheaded the recent increase in spirit. 

“Some of the
upperclassmen in the school have been pretty big on school spirit,” Fried said, “I think that’s kind of trickled down and made a bit of an impact where you see some of the younger guys start to come to games because they see leaders doing it and going crazy at the games.”

Aside from the fans, Moe believes that the athletes also have had an impact on the number of fans coming out to games.

“I think it’s because people have shown gratitude. People come to games and [the athletes] thank them,” Moe said. “Maybe it’s not 150 people, but it’s 40 people, 50 people, and then it starts to become an event.”

With many of the students who stepped into leadership roles graduating soon, people hope this burst of spirit won’t be a standalone year. 

“It’s not just the work of a couple of individuals … I think it’s more of like a whole school thing,” Fried said, “I would say looking towards the future, especially as UPrep continues to grow … you’ll see actually more school spirit.”

ASB has also had a large impact on this spike in school spirit. Through the creation of events and the increased desire to score grade points, ASB has worked to bring the whole UPrep Upper School together.

“Mainly, we want to get more people involved in events,” Vice President of ASB senior Kodaren Anand said. “Also getting the whole grade into things.”

With this extra work that ASB has put into spirit, they have also created a year which future leaderships will be able to reference.

“My hunch and my hope is that it sustains, that students say ‘This is really fun, going to go into games and supporting each other and feeling spirited,’” Jaffe said. “I think the next student leadership will have a blueprint that this year’s leadership has done to follow.”