How to Create Sayings for School Spirit Signs

By Benna Crawford

School spirit can help create a positive environment for learning, more communication among students and support for achievement -- from the homecoming game winning touchdown to the robotics team's first place to the award-winning literary journal to the influential student campaign for healthier lunches in the cafeteria. Famed Notre Dame coach Vince Lombardi said, “The spirit, the will to win and the will to excel -- these are the things that endure..." Make your school spirit signs memorable and enduring.

Guidelines for Greatness

A sign is read at a glance, so keep your message short to be sure it's quickly understood. "Cougars R Awesome!" is clear. "Cougars are best in city, best in state, and national champs!" is too much of a good thing -- and it's not very catchy. Try for alliteration to grab and hold attention. "Dream. Desire. Do." and "Rock on Rockland Raiders!" make it easy for fans to chant and team members to pump up spirits in a huddle. Use of the imperative is a classic call to action that energizes a student body and and its contenders: "Take State!" "Go Gators!" "Sing Out Sistahs!" These send the science talent-search finalists, the football team and the girls' choir off to compete for glory with a clear mandate for action, and praise ringing in their ears.

First Things First

Signs for corridors and sporting events are boosters and reminders of the reasons for celebration. Create an acrostic with the name of a team, club or star player. Find the admirable qualities that begin with each letter of the name. RAVENS: Remarkable, Achievers, Victorious, Excellent, Super-Successful works as a single sign or as a series of giant letters to hold up to the "Gimme an R" chant, turning the cards around to reveal the power message as the crowd calls out "Ravens!" at the end of the chant.

Make 'Em Laugh

Humor goes a long way toward lifting spirits; if your sign is genuinely funny it will elicit both smiles and support. "Final Exams Start Next Week. Resistance Is Futile." kicks off a smart-study campaign. "Walk your dog, not our batter" digs at an opposing pitcher to risk a swing by the home team. The school-wide environmental awareness week kicks off with a poster of a giant green frog, sandwiched between two phrases: "Go Green" and "True Love Optional." "Our Blood, Our Sweat, Your Tears," and "Your mom called. You left your game at home," are designed to throw the other guy off his game, snickers and smirking encouraged.

Play Off the Viral

Borrow some familiar sayings to clobber the competition -- when you're clever, you don't have to be crass or combative to make a point. Variations on viral slogans are catchy. "Keep Calm and Tackle Hard," "Impossible Is Nothing. We Eat Impossible for Breakfast," "#wewinulose," "Know Your Limits. You're About to Meet Them," "We're Number One ... and You're Not," "We Play Harder = You Cry Harder," and "Repent, [name of opposing team]! The End Is Near!" are fun signs to take to a game or a pep rally that avoid anything denigrating or ugly. The locker room could use a few spirit signs to pump up the players and help them focus, but keep those inner-directed: "Find Your Strong," "Got Game?," "Dare to Win" and that classic from Yoda, "Do. Or Do Not. There Is No 'Try'."


About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .

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