Before working on my school’s float, I didn’t think school spirit mattered or even truly existed. I thought it was a thing that teachers loved talking about. But working with my fellow 2015 F.H. Collins grads on our school’s float made me realize how it important it truly is.

Waking up early on a Sunday in February, I really wanted to turn my head and return to sleep-full bliss. However, people were counting on students, on me, to show up and help build our school’s Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous float. After a shot of coffee and a splash of water, I was off.

The building of the float started slowly. The trailer that was eventually to turn into a giant river raft had some pieces of 2’x 4’ nailed on it, which took some time to remove. Some students waited around for something to do. It really started to gain momentum around noon when all the kids who would help arrived and all the supplies were ready.

All the students had different jobs to do. Some were building the base that would be the raft’s wall, others worked on the flag painting. One student volunteered to be the school’s mascot, Freddy, during the parade. All students had one thing in common; we never looked unhappy. If one had trouble with their job they could easily ask someone else for help. We didn’t look at each other like different individuals, but rather fellow grads.

“School spirit is the reason we’ve done so well,” says a student named Stephanie. When the raft was done, each student had the same sense of pride — the sense that though it may not be the prettiest thing to exist, and though it may be rough on a couple edges, it was ours.

We made it with the strength and care of teamwork. That’s the beauty of school spirit — it allows individuals to unite and do something spectacular.