School spirit in not dead.
It's that mix of pride and support that transforms school buildings into alma maters, athletic teams into weekly reminders of prowess and personal achievement into a collective success.
Some students wear it in color-coded T-shirts, some paint it on posters or on car windows. Others show up, cheer and chant and scream, and still others bear it quietly on their ring fingers or with certificates carefully hung on bedroom walls or placed on mantels.
At Evans High School, students would dye their blood black and gold if it was possible - they already don the school colors in other places.
"Every Friday before the football game, all the girls (cheerleaders) dress up in metallic gold skirts and black shirts or people wear these black-and-white senior shirts," said Kelly Segraves, 17. "We decorate our cars if we get a chance. People just genuinely love Evans High School and they just want Evans to look good.
"I've grown up at the high school. I love Evans as much as I can. If I can show that through dressing up in black and gold or being really involved with the student council, then I'll do it. We just want to support our school as much as we can," said Kelly, a cheerleader and the school's executive committee chairwoman.
No matter which school they attend, teens still find a reason to love their school.
"A lot of people from a lot of schools have (spirit)," said Mont Epps, 17, a senior at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School. "And since the attitude is contagious, hopefully it will be even more as time goes by that more will share that same spirit and have that same intensity."
The intensity is rising at Curtis Baptist High School.
Coming off a win with their football team, the fans were roused, said athletic director and football coach Bryan Wilson.
But win or lose, that spirit, if it's real, should be there, he said.
"School spirit happens regardless of the outcome of the game," Mr. Wilson said.
Though spirit doesn't always have to be expressed on the athletic field, sometimes that's how it comes out best, he said.
"Without sports, I think there would still be that sense of school spirit but it'd be for a different reason," he said. "They'd still have that sense of pride but it's not something to go out and shout about or paint your chest."
Even without sports teams, school spirit will still find its way out, Kelly said.
"When people genuinely love their school, they will still support it," she said. "Even if it's not through athletics, we're still going to represent Evans High. We do that now through wearing shirts, putting license plates on the car. Regardless, it's going to be evident."
Her school doesn't have athletic teams, but she says the spirit there is still strong.
It just manifests in other ways, such as keeping hallways clean, working hard to pass tests and being conscious of the image pupils project and how it reflects on the school.
"It's the little things," Mont said, noting that it's not just about going to the performances that her school has or supporting the band and attending the dance classes' recitals. "It's about keeping the legacy going. That's what school spirit is: the legacy. Keeping in mind what your school is known for and keeping it up, preserving it."
Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or kamille.bostick@augusta chronicle.com.
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