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The Student News Site of West Delaware High School

Inklings

The Student News Site of West Delaware High School

Inklings

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The Ghost of Our School Spirit

West Delaware forms WDSDC in an effort to combat a culture problem.
Seniors+Ava+Bockenstedt%2C+Izzy+Schmitz%2C+Emma+Hogan%2C+Taylor+Domeyer%2C+Kyndall+Nelson%2C+Mia+Hodson%2C+and+Luca+Smith+throw+confetti+before+the+first+varsity+football+game+of+the+season.
Keevan Hauschild
Seniors Ava Bockenstedt, Izzy Schmitz, Emma Hogan, Taylor Domeyer, Kyndall Nelson, Mia Hodson, and Luca Smith throw confetti before the first varsity football game of the season.

If you had to guess, how many school events have you been to this year? Sure, you’re busy with volleyball practice or speech rehearsal, but when you had the time, did you go to the dodgeball tournament? Did you go to the assembly? Did you even go to homeroom?

Why not?

Along with guidance counselors Shelby Piersch and Mackenzie Atwater, Assistant Principal Matt Weis is trying to come up with a solution to this cultural issue within our halls. The staff has selected 20 upperclassmen to be on a committee titled “West Delaware Students for Desired Change.”

The WDSDC, as it’s been dubbed, meets on the first Friday of each month to discuss how they can create a more supportive atmosphere, improve attendance, and increase school spirit across the board within West Delaware. 

Guidance counselor Mackenzie Atwater said that the group’s goal is to find the leaders within our school who are a positive influence and then get them to spread that goodness and positivity.

Maggie Millenkamp cheers during the rainy homecoming football game. (Keevan Hauschild)

“The goal is to improve the culture here,” Atwater said. “It’s about how we can spread that positivity, get people to latch on to our leaders and want to be leaders too. Hopefully, as we get more people on board, it’ll just spread like wildfire.”

“Why was the WDSDC even necessary?” you might ask. Well, a lot of students don’t care. That’s why. They don’t care about playing games at Christmas assemblies, dressing up for JV basketball games, or reading the announcements over the intercom in the morning. After football season is over, our school spirit might as well be an actual ghost.

The Battle of the Homerooms is a program created by the WDSDC to promote the once-weekly advisory hour, which is a common time when some students choose to skip class. The competition pits homeroom against homeroom, as students can earn points for participating in assemblies, school activities, reading announcements, and more. It’s the beginning of a campaign to increase school spirit and student engagement throughout the halls of West Delaware. 

“I think if we had more school spirit here, we wouldn’t need a competition like this,” said junior Evan Dunkel, WDSDC member. “People don’t see a reason to go to assemblies, and they don’t like school in general, which kind of sucks.”

It’s like we always need a reward for something or we do it because we’re getting a grade, but we should just do things because we want to learn, we want to have fun, and we care.

— Evan Dunkel (11)

Attendance at student council events has been remarkably low for awhile now, and the student council has even had to cancel events because students weren’t interested, including the once mega-popular University of Iowa Dance Marathon Fundraiser. 

The solution? Nobody really knows, said student council advisor Mary Wegmann. 

“I would say I have seen the student engagement and excitement about assemblies decline over the years,” Wegmann said. “I wish I had the answer to the why. Instead of going and participating, I see the students getting excuses to go home and skipping out because they feel they have better things to do.”

West Delaware has a rich history within this small town—many of our parents graduated from this school and many of our future children might too. 

Everyone has heard a story or two from their parents about what high school was like “back then.” They probably chronicled grand tales of homecoming bonfires, huge school dances, and parades. So why, when their parents and past generations took such pride in their school, have today’s students created such a strong culture of disinterest and aloofness?

“Other people aren’t at assemblies, so I’m kind of by myself if I go to those things,” Mason Roling (12) said. “Sometimes they’re fun, sometimes they’re not, so it’s hit or miss. It’s not worth it to go when you could go somewhere else with your friends.”

People don’t go because other people don’t go. Students don’t care because other students don’t care. If it’s inconvenient to care, they won’t. Plain and simple.

A few students cheer for a home boys basketball game. (Keevan Hauschild)

Maybe the big issue is social media, as that’s the only major difference between then and now, but that’s a completely separate topic. Cliques are still prominent like they were in the 80s and 90s. Teens still party, rebel, and have fun. So what’s changed?

The ghost of our school spirit haunts our shiny new halls, and it’s pretty sad.

“Well, we need to change—it’s a whole mindset,” said Dunkel. “We have to enjoy being here, enjoy doing things, give it our all just because. It’s like we always need a reward for something or we do it because we’re getting a grade, but we should just do things because we want to learn, we want to have fun, and we care.” 

And if everyone cares, maybe it’ll be normal to care again. It might even be cool.

Either way, one thing is for sure—the Battle of the Homerooms will produce a winner, regardless of whether the actual level of engagement of that homeroom skyrockets this year or not. And then, hopefully, once classes realize there’s a little bit of pride that goes alongside holding that homeroom trophy, they might start to care after all.

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About the Contributors
Liz Sleper
Liz Sleper, Staff
Hey! I’m Liz Sleper, a senior here at West Delaware. I’m super involved in extracurriculars; I participate in musical, all-state choir, all-state speech, student council, NHS, play, and journalism, and I run the spirit squad Twitter page. In my spare time (I don’t have much), you can find me lifting, skiing in the winter, watching my siblings’ sports games, watching scary movies, or playing guitar (badly). In the summer, I lifeguard and teach swim lessons at the Kramer Aquatic Center! I plan on attending the University of Iowa to major in Journalism and Mass Communications, hopefully also on a pre-law track. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the yearbook team this year, and I’m looking forward to new experiences and opportunities!
Keevan Hauschild
Hello everyone! I’m Keevan Hauschild and I am a senior here at West Delaware. This is my third year of journalism. Outside of yearbook, I am currently involved in baseball, NHS, Speech, Play, Student Council, and a part of the West Delaware Students for Desired Change group. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my friends, lifting, listening to music, attending sporting events, playing golf, and taking pictures. I’ve been running a photography page, khausproductions on Instagram and K-Haus Photography on Facebook. Both of these pages have grown an insane amount throughout the last two years. After this year, I’m heading to the University of Iowa where I am majoring in Journalism/Mass Communications, Sports Media, and Marketing with my end goal of working at ESPN one day. 

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