Ignite2Unite event strengthens school spirit

Kristine Lin, Managing Editor

From square dancing to practicing spirit cheers on Monday in the Big Gym of the Peery Center, Palo Alto High School students are looking forward to increasing student participation and school spirit in future rallies through the unique community-building opportunity arranged by Ignite2Unite.

Students sat in circles on Monday in the Big Gym of the Peery Center, filling out a handout regarding their opinions to improve the school, as a part of the Ignite2Unite event. Junior Samuya Kundu said she found the event enjoyable and memorable. “I think it was really fun, and it was really energetic,” Kundu said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but I think it definitely did exceed what I was originally thinking.” (Photo: Kristine Lin)

As stated on its website, Ignite2Unite is a nationwide program focused on increasing student engagement. According to Associated Student Body Director Steve Gallagher, Paly students were able to meet new peers through bonding activities and discuss ways to improve student culture and spirit.

“They did a lot of icebreaker activities, tried to figure out where the school culture was, decided on a name for the student section, and learned all kinds of cheers,” Gallagher said.

According to Gallagher, students were invited to participate in the event after being nominated by teachers and staff. The nomination process was based on fulfilling what Ignite2Unite considers the four areas of student life, or the four A’s: academics, athletics, arts, and activities. Participant junior Samuya Kundu said she was happy to have attended the program.

“One of my favorite activities was square dancing because it was really high-energy and it was really fun,” Kundu said.

According to Kundu, she hopes to employ what the students learned and apply them to future rallies.

“We did cheers, and I’m really excited to see those play out during football games,” Kundu said.

Sophomore Samantha Fan shared a similar experience. Fan said she believed the students greatly benefitted from the event.

“We [the student body] learned a lot of new tools that we can use to make Paly better and increase participation from Paly students,” Fan said. “We also got a lot of students that want to implement these changes.”

According to Gallagher, Paly may partner with Ignite2Unite for future additional events and opportunities after Monday’s success.

“I was excited to see that there was a lot of momentum built yesterday, and now it’s time to build on that momentum,” Gallagher said. “It’s a matter of working with the students who were there yesterday, and creating a plan on how to bring this type of spirit that they were part of yesterday to the bigger school.”