SHS in high spirits for new spirit teams

Solon girls’ soccer team at Stewart stadium, photo courtesy of Doug Wolfe

Solon girls’ soccer team at Stewart stadium, photo courtesy of Doug Wolfe

Audrey Lai, Editor in Chief

It’s no surprise that certain Solon High School (SHS) athletic teams earn more commendation in the school environment compared to academic, music and art programs despite the large influx of awards all SHS programs receive every year. Previous students have expressed a desire for more student participation in less recognized SHS events, but without a structural change in the school climate, student involvement in these programs remain unaltered.

In response, SHS has introduced spirit teams which were developed by Heather Ferris, the high school Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) president and the PTA presidents of Orchard Middle School over the summer. During first period on the first day of school, all students from fifth grade to 12th grade, including those in both middle schools, were placed into one of three spirit teams: blue, white and gold. Students can earn spirit points for their teams by attending school-related events. The team with the most points will claim the spirit cup.

Erin Short, principal of SHS, explained the catalyst behind the creation of the spirit teams.

“My number one hope is that we have more kids celebrating with each other,” Short said. “I hope, and one of my goals, is that it will continue to improve the climate. My hope and goal is that we will, again, celebrate the talents of the many, many talents of our students.”

Short urges SHS students to attend a larger variety of school events and support their fellow students.

“We have incredible artists in this building and I think that our kids should come down and participate in the art fair in the spring,” Short said. “I think that we have clubs that do tremendous things. So I know Model UN is doing a huge ethnic expo again this year, they’re expanding it, and I want kids to come down and learn about other cultures and learn about their classmates, and I think that in addition to improve and increasing school spirit, we will hopefully, again, create an environment where everyone feels that they are part of Solon High School.”

Solon girls’ XC team at South Chagrin Metroparks after winning the Run Comet Run invitational, Aug. 28. Photo courtesy of Melissa Fitzgerald

SHS students can collect spirit points for their team by attending school-related events, including home athletic events, art shows, concerts, drama events and more. 

“Kids can just take a picture with their phone and that leads them to a Google Form and they can click on what event they’re at, and put in their name and their team and that’s how they get points,” Short said. 

The Solon Spirit Initiative also includes Spirit Captains, students who are chosen by teachers to lead the Spirit teams.

Janaki Nair, Gold Spirit Team captain, expressed her opinion on the initiative.

“I think the initiative will definitely boost school spirit,” Nair said. “Being Solon, healthy competition is something everyone loves. That, along with the fact that everyone seems to be extra excited after returning in-person full time, shows that this plan has promise. To the students on the gold team: you’ve done a great job so far, but you need to do better! The other teams are beating us! Please make sure to scan QR codes when at sporting, academic, or guidance-related events!”

Suder Natesan, a senior at SHS, shared her thoughts on the new spirit teams. 

“While the enthusiasm isn’t clearly felt by the student body, I believe as time goes on, we will come to realize how cool these spirit teams are,” Natesan said. “I believe as the spirit teams become more integrated into our school life, we will feel more motivated to participate in more events.”

Short hopes the spirit teams will not only increase school spirit but also contribute to uniting SHS students.

“We have heard from a lot of students over the past year, year and a half and families that we need to develop more school spirit, and I think here at Solon High School we operate in silos a lot,” Short said. “Our goal is to create more inclusivity and have kids recognize and celebrate the talents that they may not have in their peers and go and support them in those endeavors. So I guess I would say come out and check out all the amazing things that your classmates do and I think you’ll be in awe of the talent that we have in this building.”