Does Dartmouth have school/town spirit? No, it does not.

Does Dartmouth have school/town spirit? No, it does not.

While the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Town of Dartmouth approaches, people are buzzing about in preparation for the pride-filled event. Many, however, are not concerned with town pride, or do not feel that it is worth the effort. Dartmouth does not have the pride and participation that many feel it could within the town itself or at DHS.

In the town itself, there is a substantial amount of pride and community surrounding events such as children’s sports games and parades. In contrast, some people like senior Kate Cummings feel that, “as a whole community, the Town of Dartmouth slacks in the aspect of coming together.”

During the recent Memorial Day parade, though many people appeared for the event, the audience was smaller than had been seen in previous years. The middle school band could not be heard marching down the street and the fire trucks didn’t throw the candy out to the kids like they used to. Pride in Dartmouth as a town is difficult to see ordinarily. However, there will always be moments of community which make us feel proud to live where we do.

At DHS the attitude toward school pride is different and somewhat complicated. Junior Glenna Forgue said, “I think we only have school spirit when we want,” meaning that students participate in only the events they really want to support. This can be seen at guest speaker events and yearbook information sessions, where many students shy away from displaying their true concern for school pride, instead opting for humorous remarks about the person speaking.

For some students, particularly those who aren’t athletes, occurrences of student support are few and far between. “You don’t see [students] lining up out the door to see the plays and musicals or congratulating the Math Team after they’ve won,” said sophomore Emma Clune.

During the beginning of the winter season for this school year, there was a noted lack of participation and support from the DHS community at the basketball games. This was so significant that there were even morning announcements telling students to come support their teams. Even sports, one of the most heavily supported extracurriculars at DHS, has suffered from lack of spirit and pride among the students.

DHS is a very athletic-focused school. “Although this is inevitable in a high school, at DHS the majority of the ‘popular’ crowd are the athletes,” said a DHS student. “I feel as if no one cares about the other programs within the school, so it’s hard for me to be proud of what I’m involved in.” Students, like this one, who are involved in the arts and sciences feel that most of the support from the school goes to the athletes and does not truly consider the other talented people at DHS.

Another source of school pride dwindling stems from the system itself. Graduating Senior Alex Tjersland said, “There is no school pride because the school is not viewed as a source of enrichment, rather as a game that is reluctantly played by students so they can move on in their lives.”

Students at DHS are generally reserved when it comes to displaying school spirit, particularly during ordinary days. Forgue said, “During spirit week and football and hockey games, we’re all for Dartmouth High, but once that’s over [many students] hate basically everything about the school.”

That being said, another student said he can proudly say, “I go to Dartmouth and have had an incredible experience thus far,” but he also thinks he could have shown more school spirit during his time here. Students at DHS don’t always display the most school pride, but many students would be proud to say they graduated from Dartmouth.

People on average would rather complain about the school system or the road conditions than the recent refurbishing of the dock at Apponagansett Park and success of the #letAshlynwalk protest. It is true that some pride can be seen at the gatherings and community events which parents and reluctant teens drag themselves to, but the day-by-day pride which Dartmouth and DHS share is something that cannot be easily seen. Pride and community participation in Dartmouth both as a town and a school are things not often found in daily life.