There is an illusion among many students and teachers that Milken does not have school spirit. Many Milken students do not show interest in the sports teams, attend school dances or participate in Color Games. Milken students often blame this shortage of spirit on the lack of school events that occur on campus which create difficulties in attending. In summation, it is clear that Milken does not and might never have school spirit in the conventional way—school dances, cheerleaders, football games, etc.
I would, however, contend that Milken has just as much school spirit as any other high school. The only difference between Milken and these other schools, in regards to spirit, is the way in which it is conveyed.
There is a sense of community pride that is unique to our campus. Milken has always expressed spirit differently, but it was taken to the extreme this year. Throughout the year, there have been numerous events that revealed the student body’s enthusiasm. This year, students were treated to a live jazz concert and a salsa dance performance, basketball and ping pong tournaments, dance showcases and art shows among much more. During these events, a large majority of students not only attended, but also actively participated.
One example of an event that exemplified our community’s passion and pride was the live performance by the Landfill Harmonic in December. The Landfill Harmonic consists of underprivileged kids from Paraguay playing beautiful music and using instruments made from recycled material and trash. The opportunity to hear these kids play was just one example of the many things that students at Milken have unique access to and how our community comes together. Tammy Shine, ‘17, recalls being able to play one of their recycled violins in front of the whole school and feeling supported by the entire student body. Shine noted, “Attempting to learn to play the violin with the Landfill Harmonic was an awesome experience; even though I wasn’t very talented, we all were able to laugh together.” The event ended with an eruption from the crowd and a standing ovation.
Another unique aspect of Milken spirit is tied to Purim and all of its festivities. Every year, students participate in costume contests and watch the faculty and senior purim shpiels. Purim is arguably the most highly anticipated event of the Milken school year. The shpiel is a huge part of the pride that each class feels—students frequently reference previous iconic shpiels to commemorate that class.
To those who quickly shrug off the idea that Milken students care about their school and show spirit, consider how much fun Milken students have access to and more importantly, how the community comes together to celebrate activities.
School spirit does not have to be confined to attending football games with cheerleaders and a school band. Milken shows that school spirit can exist by having fun together as a community in unconventional ways.