Sometimes you can get a glimpse of the culture of a school by the amount of garb students, faculty, and community members wear that dons the name, mascot, or colors of the local high school.
At my school, they call it “West Wear.” And I have a closet full of it much to my wife’s chagrin. But she understands fully that there is a method to the madness.
When my daughter was attending middle school, she often wore West Wear because she spent so much time with me at school that she felt a part of the culture. Now that she is about to enter 10th grade at West, she has a nice collection of her own garb, specifically hoodies.
That she got from my collection. Daughters do that apparently.
My son has many a Titan shirt and every so often I buy a used jersey that the booster club is selling to make money so that he can have it.
He is a part of the culture.
When you teach at a school for a number of years, you will collect a number of clothing items that show pride in your school.
Open the closet and I can probably tell you when I got each particular item of spirit clothing and the occasion that it might have marked. Today, I wore a t-shirt that commemorated homecoming last year and it has a pink school logo as it happened to be “Pink Out” night for the homecoming game to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
It also reminds me of a friend, colleague, mother, sister, and teacher we lost to breast cancer a few years ago at a young age – Sarah Garcia. She is still ever the presence in the 1000 Building.
I have shirts that mark championships of great teams. I have shirts that I bought from clubs to help raise funds or to help them get more exposure. I have shirts that simply identify me as a fan and a supporter.
I could wear something from my favorite pro team or college alma mater (Go Deacs!), but to wear something that shows a tie to the local high school offers something a little more.
It shows support for schools. One could make the argument that schools make revenue from sales of spirit wear, but those hoodies, t-shirts, shorts, hats, and other items help build community and pride and awareness that kids are involved in things.
I have been in other towns and other games supporting my nephew and worn a West baseball cap and had people ask about it and comment that they had heard of our school’s team. Before you know it, we are talking about high school sports.
There are students who wear special shirts for being on the newspaper staff, the yearbook staff, and the shooting team. They wear them with pride. They belong. It means something to them.
And it isn’t just at my school. All schools have this to an extent. What I think is neat is when people who have since graduated or had their kids graduate still don spirit wear from the high school they attended or sent their kids.
Even community members might have some articles of clothing they wear just to be supportive. And that goes a long way to creating a positive culture. It builds community.
And students notice that.
Today, there was a sale of West Wear (previous years’ stock) at discounted prices at the school. As soon as the doors opened, people were there.
Teachers, parents, staff, and some students who were awake early enough came to get more West Wear for themselves or for others.
I got my kids another hoodie.
They will wear them.
For years to come.
Because you know that every style comes back “in-style” again.
Except those shorts we wore in basketball in the early ’80’s.