WEST POINT -- Lori Hayward recently noticed a disturbing trend at West Point Junior High School. The choir teacher has seen a loss in school spirit over the last couple of years at the school and decided it was time to reignite the spirit that existed when West Point Junior High first opened 10 years ago.
School officials decided it was the perfect time to host a 10-year celebration, which came to fruition Friday.
"When we first opened, there was a sense of pride, but over time, we don't seem to have as much school pride -- almost like it's gotten to be old hat -- and we take for granted our beautiful school and forget we are lucky to be here every day," said Hayward, who has been at the school since it opened in 2003.
To kick-start the school spirit, the entire 1,300 student body spent a day in February filming a video that involved every club and group in the school lip-syncing to popular songs of the past 10 years.
"When we finished the video, everyone was excited to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and that's how school pride comes about, when you feel vested in something and students take ownership," Hayward said. The video was revealed to the students for the first time at the assembly.
Social studies and Spanish teacher Wayne Madsen, who also has been at the school since it opened, said the assembly was a huge step for the school in bringing back school spirit.
"The kids here will remember this, and when the kids have pride in their school, they want to come to school," he said. "When they want to come to school, they want to learn, which makes my job easier."
Eighth-grade student Zachariah Lehman, agreed that his school has more school spirit now.
"We have the most school spirit, because we attend sports and also show our love to our teachers who help us pass our classes," Zachariah said. "We would just crumble to pieces without it (school spirit) and not be able to work as a good team like we do."
The school has received numerous awards and recognition over the years because of its design, with open collaborative areas between classrooms where classes can join forces.
"This school was the first of its kind in Utah and has been used at national conferences as a model on how to design schools," said Davis School District Superintendent Bryan Bowles. "Your building is beautiful, but what's most important is what is going on inside the school, which is also award-winning."
Dr. Jane Muna, the principal at the time the school first opened, talked to the students about how they got to be the Celtic Warriors, their school mascot. She said that after tossing around mascot ideas such as the buffalo, antelope or vipers -- all of which got chuckles from the students during the assembly -- it was finally decided that the Celtic Warrior was an important individual, a prime mascot for their new school.
"They always fight for the rights of others, and are honest, true and free," Muna said. She reminded the students that as they move into the future, they should remember always that they are representing those warriors.