By Carly Guise
Red Lion has a lot of things, but school pride isn’t one of them.
I mean, sure, the elementary school kids love spirit days. They love wearing their black and gold shirts that are just a tad too big and they take honest-to-God pride in their special pencils that they get for displaying good “Red Lion character.”
But, let’s go past the fifth grade. Even sixth, maybe--if you’re lucky. Let’s fast-forward to the junior high years; the glorious, the glamorous, and by far the most awkward part of 99 percent of the population’s collective lives.
The junior high, in my eyes, is where pride goes to die. It’s nothing against the building or the people working there. They try, they do the best that they can with what they’ve got to work with.
It’s the age group they’re dealing with that’s the problem. A bunch of barely-teenagers who all desperately just want to be seen as ‘cool’ in the eyes of their fellow classmates.
Somewhere down the line, someone decided that having school spirit was no longer the ‘cool’ thing to do. Most of them would rather die than be caught participating in Tacky Tourist Tuesday or Dress Like a Friend Day.
I know this because I was one of those kids. I suppose I still am, in a way. I don’t want to go out of my way to dress for a specific day, but I won’t go out of my way to avoid it, either. I also no longer desperately seek the approval of my peers, but that’s for another time.
I always thought that everyone hated Red Lion, especially those who’ve actually gone here. It seemed like all anyone ever had to say about our school was a list of complaints three miles long.
Whenever I tell someone where I’m from, they look at me somewhat like a fish (you know--eyebrows raised, eyes wide, mouth open only enough to make it obvious) and say something along the lines of, “You go to Red Lion?” People and their responses can vary, but there is almost always judgement and stereotypes.
For some reason, a stigma surrounds Red Lion: we’re dumb, we’re hicks, we’re worth nothing. Why would someone have pride in that?
It’s that stigma that has led me to assume that no one takes pride in saying that they went to Red Lion, that we all hate it here as much as the rest of the county seems to.
And then I realized something: We’re all still playing the same game that we played in middle school.
We’re still desperately trying to fit in and, in this case, we have to make it seem like we hate our school. The only difference is that, instead of following the most popular girl in school around, we’re following the most popular districts around. They say we’re nothing, and we accept it because that’s what the underdog does.
But when I saw our entire student body at the Homecoming pep rally a few weeks ago, I saw pride still in this school.
It lingers in the stands at the football games. It hides out in the classrooms with doors that are decorated and the handmade posters hung from the walls. It sits with the sports teams before every big game.
There is pride in us yet, and it’s proven me wrong. The week leading up to the Homecoming rally, I was certain that no one would participate in Friday’s theme of class colors. Period after period that day, I looked for someone wearing blue or purple, for juniors and seniors, and instead saw mainly green, the color assigned to freshmen.
And then I got to the pep rally itself. The first competition was to determine which class had worn the most of their color, and I was shocked to see how many students had actually participated. Evidently, I had been looking in all the wrong hallways that day.
Up until the pep rally, I was thoroughly convinced that Red Lion was completely and entirely prideless, that the bigger, richer school districts had won.
But at that pep rally, I saw a celebration of our school that I’ve never seen before. So, yeah, Red Lion has a lot of things. Pride is one of them. I was wrong.
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