Lack of School Participation?

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By: Mary Bush

Grandville High School is a school full of GRIT, but one area the seniors may fall short in school spirit. Homecoming week is a time for Grandville students to come together and participate in spirit week, the pep assembly, and of course homecoming! Friday, September 27th, students gathered in the Vanderslice gym for the annual pep assembly following a week of spirit days. Each grade competes during the week of which class can show the most spirit and at the end of the week the winner takes the spirit jug. Many students get into the competition but many refrain from participating, and the question that was left was why and how can Grandville High School promote student participation?

Marlee Remenap, Student Council Treasurer, runs a public relations committee of six people and she is in charge of going on announcements to get students excited about homecoming week and the dance. Marlee has been on student council since seventh grade and part of her job as treasurer is to brainstorm ideas for the spirit week themes. “We really try to keep the days pretty basic and only require things to dress up in things that everyone could have at home already. Everyone has PJs and everyone has some Grandville gear. The more basic the day is the more people participate,” Remenap says in reference to where they get the ideas from for dress up days. All of the student council members participate in brainstorming themes for the week but the part of the public relations of the GHS Student Council are the students in charge of finalizing them. Marlee also mentions that she believes that a lack of participation could be correlated with being uninformed about the days. 

Freshman Ryder Haight comments on why he believes students choose not to participate, “Freshman might participate less because they don’t think it is cool.” Marlee believes that students are never to cool too go all out and get excited about homecoming week. She states,” Be a leader, get involved and people will follow you!” Most interviewees that were asked if they believed spirit weeks benefit the school, believe they do by bringing the school closer together and creating a healthy environment to bringing everyone together.  

Senior Kaylee Fogelsonger comments on why seniors may participate more and why students choose not to participate in the days, ”Seniors have been here longer, so they may feel more comfortable participating in the days and students who choose not to participate in the spirit week or games might be scared or embarrassed because of the fear of not knowing how many students would actually participate.” Junior Sonia Cortes believes that when more people participate, it gets everyone hype and makes the whole week more fun. Some advice Sonia would give to students is, “Participate, or you will look back and regret it.”

Student Council Advisor, Mrs.VanHekken has been leading the Student Council for sixteen years. She believes students refrain from participating because they don’t pay attention to it, they’re not interested, or their friends are not participating. One way Mrs. VanHekken believes Grandville can promote participation is by getting more freshmen involved. She realizes that juniors and seniors are all about spirit week, but the shaming of freshman causes them to be less likely to participate. “Participation has increased big time from when I first started running Student Council,” VanHekken states. She estimates a 20% increase in the past 5-6 years and believes its due to a large culture shift and an increase in school pride.

Mrs.Vanhekkens advice to underclassmen is,” Participate! Spirit days are made to have fun and with the encouragement of upperclassmen and peers student participation could continue to rise throughout the years.” Getting involved and making spirit week more competitive could bring Grandville High School students closer in the upcoming years. So get out and participate Grandville!

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