Immediatly after we arrived in Bartow we noticed a lot of differences especially of the school spirit between Bochum and Bartow.
First of all we present our impressions of the school spirit and after that we are going to analyse the differences between clothes, support and freetime of Germany and Florida and what the Bartow students think about theirselves.
Directly after we arrived in school, we noticed that the rooms and floors are painted in the school colours. Those are blue and orange. Furthermore one could see all the posters which are published in the whole building. The sign in front of the school that says „Home of Champions“ and underlines the pride community of teachers and students. While we did the school tour, with two of our exchange students, the numerous cups had drawn attention to our German group and these showed us that they are proud of their successes.
In Germany nobody wears our t-shirts but that is different here. In Florida most of the students wear those school clothes, for example bartow t-shirts and sweaters. The school emblem, the yellow jacket, and the inscription „Bartow“ are printed on the clothes. This pointed out a feeling of unity.
Both marching bands, the home and the visitors band, present their skills to the home side. Moreover at the beginning of game we saw the seniors of the last year come in the stadium as an honor for their graduation they had. The students come to all of these games to cheer for the players.
The Football games are always a big event which make use of the freetime of the students and need a lot of preparation. The watchers simmer with excitment and empathize like soccer fans in Germany.
To extract the opinion from the students about the school spirit, we did a survey, in which we interviewed 15 Bartow High students to get information about how sports connect especially in the school life. First we emphasized, that nearly everyone is a part of the school spirit and they describe it with the adjectives happy, enthusiastic, loud and friendly. The students told us about their different opinions of the spirit, because some people care and some do not. Teachers support this too, for example in clubs. They like the school spirit as much as the students. To emphasize this, the pupils dress up with shirts and jackets. Another question was, how they promote this. The students replied, that the most popular events are Football games, pep rallies and homecoming. They celebrate it with shirts, which are painted in school colors. In addition to that they commemorate it with parties. The people we asked said, that the school spirit brings all the people together as one and nobody cares about where you are from and it shows that you are proud of your school . And this fact is important, because the school spirit changes in the particular cultures and countries.
Another important point is the promoting of the competitions of the school spirit between the schools. The relationship between the students becomes visible especially at the matches and clubs for example the football or soccer games. The only problem about the competition is that it can have a negative influence on friendships, if people take it too seriously by heart.
The school spirit is underlined and promoted by social media for example facebook, twitter and the news. They support their home teams by posting or tweeting pictures, videos and the current results of the games.
All in all the students we asked think, that they could live without school spirit, but only when they have to. They prefer a life with school spirit, because otherwise they would miss an important part of their life. It is possible that they lose the strong feeling of unity and get in trouble with each other, because they do not have a common aim anymore, that they can support and cheer for.
In comparison to the Germans attitude we noticed the strong distinctions Americans have about the school spirit. The difference in Germany is that the school and the leisure are more separated than in America, because we do not connect school with leisure and fun. Moreover we do not grow up with the main idea of school spirit like the American children, who are pushed in the concept of solidarity by the older generations. In addition to that we are not that proud of our school like Americans and that is one of the reasons, why we do not have a strong school spirit. For example in Germany nobody would come to soccer competitions or musicals, who are not involved.
As a result one can say, that the school spirits from Germany and America are completely different, because the spirit does not exist that much in Germany. The students are not proud of their school and did not grow up with this concept. At least American students can not imagine a life without school spirit.
Geena Emons, Luna Mondin, Miguel Machulla Nina Jacob, Laura Egen und Carolina Drauschke