The Urgency of Black Knight Pride


Maggie Heaphy

It is no secret that the climate of CHS hasn’t been as full of pride in the start to this school year as we would have liked to see. The violence and negativity that has surrounded Black Knight Nation is not something that should be normalized, and the adversity we have faced in this first quarter is nothing close to common. Because of these factors, it may seem insignificant to carry a love for a school environment that doesn’t make you feel safe, which is valid and understandable. However, is it possible that the notion of school spirit could actually benefit our community? 

Homecoming just passed, meaning that fall spirit week has as well. While great efforts were made by the student body and the administration, there was still a noticeable decline in participation than in previous years. The reason for this is pretty clear, but there were still a good number of students and staff who dressed up and got in spirit for the occasion. As a junior, I made sure to not only be in this group of people, but to make sure I showed out every day in as much spirit as I could grasp.

Walking around the halls on spirit week, it was expected that several giggles were aimed at me and several pictures were taken. I looked absolutely insane, and I get it– it’s not every day that you see some random junior walking around C hallway with a bright pink wig on. However, contrary to what some may think, there is a reason behind the madness that people see. It’s not that the struggles in our school are being ignored– it’s actually quite the opposite. Above it all, I still have so much love for Charlottesville High School, and so homecoming and other opportunities to showcase that love is the perfect opportunity to bring us together.

After COVID-19, I saw my freshman year of high school taken from me, as we were online for most of the year. The ‘high school experience’ that was so highly anticipated in our eyes was just not there, and instead we found ourselves sitting at our home desks all day on different Zoom calls. Now that we’re back, my belief is that we should take advantage of every opportunity we have, and make up for this lost time. Additionally, our current broken school climate needs to be mended, rather than letting it stay at this low point for any longer.

School spirit unites us as a community. When you see a student section all dressed the same, and all sharing the common initiative to cheer on our team, it is a small step of coming together that is so desperately needed right now. According to the Missouri State Government Association, “School spirit is important because it sets the tone for various aspects of the school and its students. When the student body is involved in events on and off campus, it demonstrates a passion for pride that is immeasurable and contagious. I believe that school spirit translates into higher expectations of one’s self and surroundings, pushing for positive changes at the university and abroad.”

This idea is widespread throughout school environments everywhere, but it nowhere more relevant than it is at CHS. Showing your love for the school isn’t linked to the ignorance of its issues, but rather displaying the potential that we see and love we have for this community. If there’s one thing we need right now, it’s to be in it together, rather than more divided, and although it may seem insignificant, school spirit is a perfect small step in this direction. Among all the madness occurring within Black Knight Nation, we still must acknowledge and honor the fact that BKN is still present. 

My brother graduated from CHS in 2020, and when I was a middle schooler, I always wanted to hear about his experiences in high school. The questions I asked him usually surrounded the fact that I didn’t know the degree of accuracy that teen rom-com movies possessed, as I often wondered if a long-haired Heath Ledger would perform a song for his blonde-haired love interest in front of the school at the football stadium. While this was certainly not the case, my brother’s stories of his high school experience made me so excited for this stage of my life, and is ultimately what led me to attend CHS. He was a textbook theatre kid who didn’t know the first thing about sports, but the parts of his stories that he always seemed to love to tell the most about were the pep rallies and sporting events. There’s something about a student section that is so admirable, as it allows kids like my brother to cheer along for the same side as people he never would have thought he’d talk to, wearing the same outfit. Among CHS’s diversity, the only characteristic that every one of us shares is that we attend this school, and that is something that must be taken advantage of in desperate times.

Last year, a few days before school, I found myself crowded in the gym with the entire incoming sophomore class after we were all handed shirts that said ‘can’t hide that Black Knight pride’ on the back. While this was probably a quick phrase made by the administrators, I think it’s one that we should all listen to. As cheesy or insignificant as it sounds, school spirit has been studied and proven to improve school achievement, engagement, and well-being of the community. Amid all of the madness we have endured, maybe our community needs to look at the backs of these shirts, and really showcase that ‘Black Knight Pride.’ There really is so much to love about Black Knight Nation– the number one factor being the people that make up this community. With that, we must embrace our pride, and use each other to build CHS up to what it really is.