The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School


Project Pep

Taking a look at the state of school spirit at Northwest and the measures being taken to raise it.
Rachel King
At a boys varsity basketball game, senior Trey Ridley leads the student section in celebration. “When people actually show up and cheer for our team it makes for a fun student section,” Ridley said.

Looking up into the stands, senior Jessica Cheng disappointedly surveys the nearly empty student section for a varsity girl’s basketball game. According to her, this is not an uncommon experience. During her third year on the Pack Dance Team, Cheng said she has noticed a decline in student participation at a variety of sporting events she is required to perform at, from basketball to soccer. 

“I’ve been dancing at Northwest games since my sophomore year, and the difference I’ve seen in student attendance is huge,” Cheng said. “The stands used to regularly be packed with students, and now, that’s rare.”

According to junior Ben Silin, in his freshman and sophomore years, there were upperclassmen who always went full-out for spirit weeks and made these weeks a lot of fun. In recent years, Silin said the spirit shown during spirit weeks has been “super bummy” and subpar. 

“When people aren’t into it, and it’s like, you see one person dressed up and then another five people that aren’t, and that’s like the vibe it gives off and that really sucks.”

— Ben Silin

“When people aren’t into it, and it’s like you see one person dressed up and then another five people that aren’t, and that’s like the vibe it gives off and that really sucks,” Silin said. 

Similarly, Cheng agreed that the lack of spirit at Northwest has been a recent change, one that she attributes to the pandemic. 

“I think the reason my grade and the grades below us lack that same enthusiasm and passion is because we never got to see what real school spirit looked like because of COVID,” Cheng said. “After all the social distancing and masks, the way we did things just changed, and it never really went back to ‘normal’ for school spirit at Northwest.”

According to attendance administrator Carol Hess, our 31-year-old school has been celebrating spirit weeks for about 21 years. Spirit weeks at Northwest include themed dress-up days, assemblies, skits and class rivalry games that all lead up to a school dance, like homecoming or prom. 

Digital illustration showcasing the decline of school spirit throughout the years at Northwest.

When spirit weeks were first started by one student supporting his friend diagnosed with cancer everyone went all out, Hess recalled. The junior class, who had the red color, brought a fire truck to school. The crowd watching the skits was always packed and everyone who was anyone dressed up.  One kid rode a skateboard throughout the halls, completely covered head to toe in gold on superhero day. Themes were simpler, such as inside-out day when someone wears all their clothes inside out. Hess said these were all a part of the old BVNW spirit, and since then, it has perished.

There is no school spirit now. It’s sad. I’ve watched it die. The coolest thing would be for everybody to dress up and it was neat to compete against each class. It was a fun thing, and now it’s now it’s kind of like lame again.

— Carol Hess

“There is no school spirit now. It’s sad. I’ve watched it die,” Hess said. “The coolest thing would be for everybody to dress up and it was neat to compete against each class. It was a fun thing, and now it’s now it’s kind of like lame again.”

According to senior and executive student government vice president Danni Waller, spirit weeks are essential to the morale of students. 

“I think having spirit weeks just makes the environment better at school,” Waller said. “It just brings a better community, and it brings people together.”

 To help fix the lack of school spirit at BVNW, Silin is a member of the new Pep Club, a new branch of student government created to help plan engaging and entertaining spirit weeks and assemblies for the student body. When people are tired or having a “funky” day during a dull spirit week, Silin said it is the Pep Club’s job to get the ball rolling again.

Senior Colin Matile cheers on the Huskies at a basketball game Jan. 6th. To bring the spirit in the student section Matile said getting everyone engaged in the game is key. “Students being loud and encouraging really makes the energy good,” Matile said.

“Everyone’s kind of just used to like the same old themes and the same old skits and the same old everything. With Pep Club, we can really bring a good environment and a new set of skills and events to bring the spirit up,” Silin said.

For Silin, spreading the school spirit is important because it makes students realize that high school is a one-time experience in a person’s life. Silin said the camaraderie we are able to experience in a smaller school where everyone knows everyone is an experience that should not be taken for granted. 

“[School spirit is] a really good way to kind of just get close [to each other] and realize that it’s not going to be like this for much longer and to appreciate everyone that’s gone to the school, including yourselves. It’s kind of like a legacy almost,” Silin said.

Currently, Pep Club consists of six juniors, with its sponsor being Sarah Derks, who is also the sponsor for student government. Derks said that she wants the Pep Club to let loose and have fun during spirit weeks while encouraging the kids around them to do the same. She said she wants them to be the role models the students who were in high school during COVID didn’t have.

“With Pep club and with spirit, sometimes there’s this air of like, don’t take yourself so seriously, have fun. You’re still in high school. Like it doesn’t have to always be a win-lose situation,” Derks said. 

Cheng said she believes that the addition of Pep Club will not only contribute positively to students’ participation in spirit weeks but in sporting events as well.

Infographic made from statistics provided by a study through Varsity Brands in 2014.

“I think the Pep Club members will really hype other students up and get them more excited about celebrating our school and its accomplishments, especially for sports,” Cheng said. “Hopefully, [Pep Club] will inspire kids to actually show up and show out for games.”

Derks agreed, saying that she wants students to support not only the large football and basketball games but also events such as bowling or swimming.

“Let’s get excited about everything,” Derks said. “Because academically we’re an amazing school; politically, we’re an amazing school musically and journalism-wise, right? So we shouldn’t always be about like football and basketball and I’m not trying to downplay those things, but there’s more to it.”

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Instead of having boring or bland school spirit, Silin said he wants to flip the narrative and make our student body competitive. According to him, competitive fire is more important than organization and being on theme.

“It’s just like, really getting into the moment and being competitive with people,” Silin said. “I think that’s what brings out spirit the most and what really kind of makes everyone going because if you’re competing that whole week. It [will] kind of bring you together.”

The almost empty crowd that Cheng observed is the opposite of what Silin wants. He said he wants the stadium to be packed with rowdy kids who are all there to have fun supporting their school. While the competitive and lively energy of the event could lead to some kids getting in trouble or even kicked out of games, Silin said he wouldn’t mind that outcome. 

“I’d rather have people get in trouble games. Like, mess up at a game. have too much fun, like kind of just like go all out. The more you do that, the more people get into it. I know you’re not supposed to get kicked out of the games, but [when] someone [is] getting kicked out of the game, everyone’s talking about [it],” Silin said.

With the addition of Pep Club and several people, students and faculty alike, noticing our school’s dull spirit, things are bound to change. Although Hess said the spirit currently is a fixer-upper, she recalls the one student who created the spirit week at BVNW.

“It took one student to step up and say ‘I’m gonna make this great’ and did and it just took off. It was fabulous,” Hess said.

Upcoming Home Games You Can Show Your Husky Spirit At!
Varsity Softball Game

May 5, 2024

4:00 p.m.


Girls Varsity Soccer Match

April 30, 2024

6:30 p.m.


Varsity Baseball Game

April 30, 2024

5:00 p.m.




Scan this QR code to hear Northwest students’ thoughts about school spirit!






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About the Contributors
Madison Kraft
Madison Kraft, Writer
Madison is a first-year writer for “The Express” and a sophomore. Along with being a proud member of the paper, Madison is involved in cross country, varsity track and field, KAY Club, Rise, and Team Up for St. Jude’s. In her valued free time, Madison enjoys watching movies, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends. She is so happy to be part of “The Express” family and is excited to meet new people and develop her journalistic writing skills.
Jeny Jithesh
Jeny Jithesh, Online Editor
Jeny Jithesh is a senior and Online Editor of “The Express” and BVNWnews. This is her second year on staff as a writer. Outside of newspaper, Jeny is serving as the President of FBLA and KAY Club and participates in Student Government, NHS, NEHS, and Quill & Scroll. In her free time, Jeny loves going on walks with her parents, hanging out with friends, painting, and traveling. She is looking forward to contributing to BVNWNews as an editor and writer!
Avery Sigg
Avery Sigg, Design Editor
​​Avery Sigg is a senior and Design Editor for “The Express.” This is her third year on staff as a designer. Outside of newspaper, Avery is involved in girl’s soccer, NHS and Quill & Scroll. In her free time she spends time with her family and friends, playing soccer, watching movies and traveling. Avery is excited to take on the role of being an Design Editor and enjoy her senior year!
Rachel King
Rachel King, Photographer
Rachel is a junior and a photographer for “The Express”. This year is her second year on staff. Outside of the newspaper Rachel plays soccer for the school. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing soccer. Rachel is excited to be a part of “The Express” and looks forward to the year.
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