Celebrating School Spirit: The Role of Sports in Fostering School Pride

Have you ever wondered how school spirit adds to the unity of an educational system as a whole? Is it just a group identified or does it go to the extent where the people are consolidated? School spirit is often reflected through traditions, events, and symbols in which the students and faculty together form a united campus. Thus, students feel welcomed and connected to the school values and achievements. It binds together all the constituents i.e. students, faculty, alumni and supporters to a shared symbol instilling a sense of pride, loyalty and camaraderie among them. For students, the feeling of being a part of a community, along with getting involved in the life of the campus, increases the educational experience and makes the institution more impactful among other units in the community.

School spirit is the driving force that not only unites students and faculty of the schools in India in supportive conduct towards their school, but also differentiates them from members of other institutions. This particular life force can be seen in something seemingly trivial such as preferring to wear the university colours over those of another school or in something more significant like funding or time to the school. The term “spirit” is very broad and sometimes abstract, but the idea is the very essence of the organization. An educational institution like Manav Rachna International School, Sec-46, Gurugram, make their best efforts in creating an environment that promotes school spirit among students and teachers in order to strengthen its environment.

The fundamental nature of culture that binds individuals into a group expresses the values ​​and ideology of a particular group that creates an emotional bond. Ethics is important because it contributes to students’ academic success. Each campus has a clear mission, vision and purpose statement that brings people together. This is an example of why school spirit varies from one to the other. Rituals and traditions are repeatable behaviour patterns that allow everyone to feel part of a strong, connected community. Therefore, it increases student success, engagement and confidence.

By supporting school pride, you can inspire students’ passion for success and help them reach their full potential academically, socially and athletically. It fills the air with electric energy as the best CBSE schools  comes together to encourage their athletes. Every cheer and every enthusiastic song from the crowd helps to strengthen the bond between students and teachers. School pride is a feeling of connection to the school community and pride in representing the school’s values.

It’s a prevalent misconception that including too much time for physical activity and sports in the top schools in India, will hinder learners’ educational achievement by drawing their focus aside from subjects that are viewed as core topics. Conversely, research findings suggest that students’ performance and overall productivity see improvements when they participate in physical sports and recreational activities, both within and beyond the classroom. Regular participation in sports and physical activities influences learning outcomes by increasing the student’s ability to focus on, absorb and retain subject content and materials.

Frequent participation in sports and physical activities from an early age has proven to show positive cognitive development later as adolescents – thinking, reading, learning, remembering, reasoning and problem solving. Sports and physical activity help improve brain and cognitive functions by increasing the formation of new nerve cells and reorganizing synaptic connections, supporting neuroplasticity.

Students from the best schools in Gurugram, when participating in group sport events have many opportunities to interact and socialize with each other, fostering strong friendships. Besides that, the students as cheerleaders in the audience, demonstrate greater commitment to school and a shared sense of identity. Children, as a whole, exhibit elevated self-assurance, self-regard, and self-value, fostering their ability to acquire not only academic proficiency but also the essential competencies such as wisdom, and connections for triumph not just within educational settings, but also within their households, communities, and workplaces. As a result, communities and multicultural societies have the power to unite and develop the feeling of unity and brotherhood that spreads throughout one’s life.

MRIS, one of the best CBSE- affiliated schools in Gurugram, believes in the philosophy of balanced, harmonious and holistic development of the child focusing upon all the needs divided among mental, physiological, emotional, aesthetic, social and spiritual aspects.

In the words of the Director Principal of MRIS 46, Ms Dhriti Malhotra, “Manav Rachna International School Sec 46 aims to offer an outstanding 360-degree learning to its student community in a safe environment. Apart from scholarly brilliance, through multidimensional activities and opportunities the school system focuses on character building, leadership building, fostering sportsmanship, nurturing innovators and problem solvers of tomorrow while raising empathetic global citizens of the world.”

Our Sport Luminaries have made us proud at International, National and State Levels. No matter if it’s in the shooting range or in the ice-skating rink or in the swimming pool, their zeal and passion for the game have always been inspirational. Ace figure skater, Gauri Rai showed skillful and graceful maneuvers on the stage when she got a Silver Medal at The Figure Ice Skating Competition, Dubai, UAE in 2022. She has continued the winning streak with a bagful of medals at National and State level. Our swimming supernovas, Avni Suri (Grade VIII) and Arzoo Malhotra (Grade IX), made waves with their undeterred focus and perseverance at Khelo India Junior Games. Representing Haryana in Zone 1, they both won bronze medals at the event. With a bull’s eye vision, Ahaana Oberoi and Pranjal Mahajan (Grade X), earned gold medals at the Team Event in CBSE North Zone and National Shooting Championship. In another spectacular triumph, our budding gymnast, Anaisha Sharma, Grade V, won silver medal in Rhythmic Gymnastics in CBSE Gymnastics National Championship 2023. Championing increased participation of girls in the game of cricket, Shivi Aggarwal (Grade XI), participated in U-19 SGFI National School Games. Sayyam Narang (Grade XI) showcased his strategic prowess and bagged 1st position in U-19 SGFI State Chess Championship. Our Table Tennis champs, Dishita Jain and Saanvi Mehta (Grade IX) won Bronze Medal in CBSE Cluster Table Tennis tournament. As quick as lightning on the field, Sanyam Sharma, Grade XI, represented Team Haryana in U-16 B.C. Roy Football Trophy. Adding another feather to her cap, Dhruvi Barak (Grade IX), represented Haryana, in Lawn Tennis in SGFI 67th National Games 2023-24.

All these achievements are a testament of their unwavering spirit and resilience along with the school’s commitment to holistic growth and development of the students.

Mr Anuj, the school Basketball coach says- “Achievements in the field of sports along with other fields of learning takes the name and fame of the school to soaring heights. The school provides a platform, training and motivation and the sportsmen individually or collectively work towards fostering pride in their institution.”

Further on some of the sports enthusiasts have their own take away from the inspiration, training and opportunities provided to them.

According to Tanish Choudhary, a student of Grade XI, Badminton enthusiast, “The school offers an optimistic atmosphere, the coach teaches special skills for us players to be the winners of the game”

In the words of Hiral Datta, a silver medal holder in SGFI state games in Basketball player, “It is the acknowledgement of the potential in students, chance given by the institute, and the hands-on training by the coaches that lead to great playing and encourage us to make the faculty and the student body be proud of us.”

Avni Suri, swimming champ at state level says, “Our coach puts in extra hours to train us. He motivates us to play as a team as well as to excel as an individual. The school is always prepared to provide opportunities to improve our game. On our part, we put in our best and aspire to bring laurels to our school.”

Senior school students of the top schools in Gurugram, in spite of being deeply immersed in academics, take out time for their sporty endeavours. Says Abhishree Goyal, the rising star champion of swimming, “For many years, by the commitment and coaching from the best coaches in my school, I’ve managed to improve step by step and create the best version of myself. The facilities provided by my school are instrumental in getting me to where I am today. I feel on cloud nine when I achieve my goal and make my family and my school proud.”

The success story of Krishiv Kumar, the football victor from senior school in his own words, ‘My love for the sport motivates me to work hard. The amenities provided by the school and the thorough training given by the sports staff, the positive ambience of the school enhance my skill in the game. When along with my team, I bring back laurels for my school by being a winner, I feel the effort made is worth it. It’s sure a ‘feel good factor’

Gauri Rai of senior school again is an international ice-skater who bagged silver medal in Skate Emirates International Competition held at Dubai in May 2022.

She says,” All regard to my achievements go to the platform for training provided by the institution I study in and by the strenuous training by the sports faculty. I was on cloud nine when I received silver at the international event. I could imagine the elation of my coach and the faculty. I was elated.”

Hunar Gill, a senior school student has added numerous medals to her tally at state and national level in Shooting. Hunar minces no words to say, “It’s the ongoing training in the school, the motivation by the sports faculty to practice hard, the finer points instilled every now and then that motivate me. Whatever I have accomplished so far in the game is the collective effort of my family, co shooters and the guidance given to me by my coach.”

Niveah Seth of grade IX, who recently won gold in Taekwondo in 2nd JSKFI National Cup Karate championship under 14-year Kumite category, says “I owe my victory in the sport to my teachers, coaches and my peers. The finer points of the game have been permanently ingrained in me. My trainer steered me to learn different kinds of kicks, how to be a good fighter and never to give up even if losing. And, when I held the gold medal in my hand, I felt proud of myself and was thrilled beyond words to bring glory to my school”

From the Primary School, Svanik Chandre, Aryaveer Kundu and Manvey Gupta spelled out their keenness to master the game of Football. “It’s the encouragement  and counselling of our coach that enables us to play the game. We are also consistently reminded to learn from our mistakes and carry on, taking failures and victory in our stride. A healthy diet too is insisted upon. When we are applauded for the glory we bring to our school, we feel very proud and grateful to our teachers for encouraging us to and for providing us an ideal resource to do our best.”

Our students’ remarkable achievements at MR Sports Olympia in Table Tennis, Swimming, Football, Badminton, Basketball, Shooting, Taekwondo, Chess and Cricket, held at MRIS-14, Faridabad is a testament of their exceptional skills. Also, with loud cheers and sheer joy on their faces, each of the winners described a sense of belongingness and school pride instilled within as they were felicitated with awards and recognitions in the ceremony.

Sports is indeed a powerful motivator that can motivate students from the top international schools in India to work tirelessly and make attempts for excellence by fostering school pride, light passion for success in students and help them attain their highest potential scholastically, socially and in the sports sector. It can generate healthy competition and sportsmanship. Through various events, students can develop essential life skills like partnership and management as they learn to compete with one another productively. Also, a supportive environment can be induced. Instead of feeling isolated, students can work together as a team, move toward a common purpose and form invaluable memories.

To conclude, the phenomenal sports infrastructure at Manav Rachna International Schools are not just venues for sports events but a breeding ground for rising stars, student engagement and an all-inclusive space that promotes school pride.

As our journey of the remarkable power of sports in academia comes to a conclusion, the role of sports goes beyond just a competition. They become the main source of unification among students, bringing forth their pride, rapport, and the sense of the school as a part of themselves. It is through those experiences students, staff, alumni, and supporters would share that they could celebrate victories and create long-lasting relationships. Consequently, let us keep on welcoming and enjoying the power of sports to aid in the forging of school spirit, and hence realize its fundamental importance in the holistic education of our schools.

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Author: Ms. Reeta Sharma, TGT English, Manav Rachna International School, Sec-46, Gurugram