Spirit wear is more than just a T-shirt


By Shelbie Miller

When I was just a little Whittier elementary student, I remember waking up on Fridays and putting on my black and yellow shirts with splatter paint and Sidney’s block “S.” At the time, my personal favorite was the shirt I got after participating in the second grade cheer clinic. At school I would see my friends in the same pallet of colors and with all different designs and sports displayed on them. These T-shirts were so crucial to Sidney’s culture that they were blasted out of cannons at football games. Students would wait in a frenzy to catch them and when we did it was a big win. At Sidney City Schools, every Friday is a Spirit Friday. There is black and yellow everywhere. While I still participate in Spirit Fridays, now that I am in high school I understand – I believe – that school spirit means more than putting on a T-shirt.

When I wear my Sidney shirts now, I know that I am representing something much bigger. I am representing a community of people who have always supported me. There have been seasons when I took this support for granted. There were Fridays when I would forget or just opt out of wearing my Sidney shirt. School wasn’t always my favorite thing. If I’m being honest I have never loved homework. Most teenagers don’t. Despite this, I can’t think of a time when teachers at Sidney didn’t try really hard to make my experience as a student the best it could be. Over the years, not only have I learned my ABC’s and the Pythagorean theorem, but I have met some of the most incredible people – friends and teachers. I have learned how to write a thesis and how to avoid a dangerous chemical reaction. I have also learned how to navigate a world full of diverse people with different opinions. I have learned when to wait my turn and when to lead. I’ve grown to be the person I am today because of this small town and school district that doesn’t always receive the credit it deserves.

I have learned that school spirit doesn’t necessarily come from a shirt, but from an attitude. I have found this attitude of spirit in the volleyball team where I’ve always said “You have a name on your chest; wear it with pride!” I see school spirit in the lunch ladies when they greet me daily and then on Fridays when they wish me a good weekend. I return the sentiment because that is what being a Yellow Jacket is all about. I see school spirit when our school’s Instagram posts are shared and liked and received with love in this community. I see school spirit in my peers as they help foster Jacket Pride in the middle school and elementary school students. I have seen the best of this senior class as we have learned that this school is big enough for all of us and better when we all come together. I see this spirit at sporting events when teachers and families and the Jacket Pack come together to cheer for the win.

I have two Fridays left at Sidney High School. While my favorite Sidney cheer clinic shirt from the second grade is no longer an option, you can bet that you will find me wearing black and yellow. In fact, I wear my volleyball and Jacket Pack shirts all week long. Even though I’ll have a new school to represent in the fall as I head to Miami University, I’ll take the lessons learned in Sidney with me. I might be wearing a new shirt, but I will always have my black and yellow spirit. I know exactly how lucky I am to have grown up a Yellow Jacket.

Shelbie Miller is a senior at Sidney High School. She is the daughter of Fran and Chad Miller. In the fall she will attend Miami University to study Communication Design in hopes of working in the field of marketing and branding. She serves as class president and has participated in Student Government, volleyball, Eco-Green Club, National Honor Society, and is a Big Buddy in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. You can find her rooting on the Yellow Jackets at sporting events or visiting coffee shops with her friends.

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