2018 Categories 2017-11-15T10:14:36+00:00

$100,000 in Awards Across 25 Categories

The search is on for America’s best high schools, with awards totaling $100,000 from
Varsity Brands. The grand prize winner will be named America’s Most Spirited
High School and will receive $25,000 for their school. See category descriptions below.

Submissions for The American Spirit Leader Awards open
November 27, 2017 and close December 8, 2017.
All other categories open January 10, 2018 and close January 23, 2018.

Submission Requirements:

Nominees must be affiliated with a high school in the United States (students, faculty,
coach, staff, etc.). Entrants must be nominated by a student, colleague or community
member. You may nominate yourself.

Entries Must Include*:

  • One 500-word essay demonstrating why the nominee is deserving of this award
  • One letter of recommendation from a school principal, administrator or
    community leader
  • Two photos of the nominee and their work
  • Optional: links to additional media (including but not limited to press
    releases, videos, photos, articles, etc.)

*See category descriptions for exceptions.

The Most Spirited Athlete will exemplify sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork. This athlete is the “glue” of the team – someone who helps maintain morale no matter the circumstance. This individual has as many team building skills as athletic skills – he or she knows how to motivate, inspire and encourage teammates to work together, push harder and achieve the utmost success.

  • Nominee must be a high school student
  • Nominee must participate in at least one school sport
  • Essay should identify specific examples of leadership, sportsmanship, and teamwork
The Most Spirited Team Manager is a dedicated student who loyally and eagerly assists athletic teams. This manager keeps practices and games running smoothly, allowing the team to focus on bringing their best to the game. Teammates consider this manager an invaluable and irreplaceable member of the team.

  • Nominee must be a high school student
  • Essay should include specific examples or anecdotes regarding this student’s commitment to team manager role
  • Essay should include specific examples or anecdotes detailing this student’s commitment to team manager role
The Most Spirited Student has a deep and genuine love for his/her school. This student is driven, kind and well-rounded. He or she cares deeply about representing the school in the best possible light. This person consistently attends school events and displays the utmost sportsmanship and school pride.

  • Nominee must be a high school student
  • Nominee must participate in at least one school club or sport
  • Essay should identify specific examples of leadership, commitment, and school spirit
The pep band and drum line have become All-American staples for school sporting events. The Most Spirited Pep Band brings talent, innovation and dedication to school events. Most importantly – this band lives for game night and eagerly takes on the responsibility of providing weekly entertainment to school fans.

  • Nominee must be a high school band or drumline
  • Essay should identify specific examples of school involvement, creativity and spirit
The Most Spirited Choir contributes to overall school atmosphere by providing high-quality performances to variety of school and community events. Most importantly, this choir program should be a source of pride for students and the community alike.

  • Nominee must be a high school choir group
  • Essay should identify specific examples of school involvement, creativity and spirit
The school mascot is the quintessential symbol of community, tradition and school pride. The Most Spirited Mascot creates a fun and uplifting atmosphere, keeping crowds in the spirit of the game. This school mascot understands and appreciates that success is about the person in the suit and the story behind the suit – a student dedicated to serving as a role model and spirited supporter of their school.

  • Nominee must be a high school student
  • Nominee must serve as school mascot
  • Essay should identify specific spirit-raising activities and skits
The Most Spirited Student Government is an organized and creative group of students who represent their school with respect and spirit. This group organizes events and opportunities that bring students together, and enhances the overall student experience.

  • Nominee must be a high school student government organization
  • Essay should include specific examples of leadership, involvement and spirit
The Most Spirited Superintendent sets the stage for a successful and spirited school district. This Superintendent is respected by his or her peers and keeps student wellbeing at the forefront when making decisions. This Superintendent understands and appreciates the power of school spirit and works to create an engaged and enthusiastic school culture.

  • Nominee must be a school superintendent
  • Essay should specify at least two examples of nominee’s commitment to elevating and improving the student experience
The Most Spirited Principal understands the essential link between school spirit and student achievement and supports academics and athletics alike. This principal is personable, active in school activities, encouraging to students and faculty, and innovative in his/her approach to education and engagement.

  • Nominee must be a high school principal
  • Essay should specify at least two examples of nominee’s commitment to elevating and improving the student experience
The Most Spirited Coach has a long-standing history of success. This coach recognizes the link between athletic involvement and student achievement, and therefore encourages both academic excellence and good character. This coach also prioritizes sportsmanship, both on and off the playing field.

  • Nominee must be a high school coach
  • Essay should identify specific examples of sportsmanship and school spirit

The Most Spirited Athletic Director supports all school teams enthusiastically and equally, regardless of success level. This Athletic Director  encourages athletes to excel on the playing field and in the classroom.

  • Nominee must be a high school athletic director
  • Essay should identify specific examples of leadership, teamwork, and spirit

The Most Spirited Teacher understands that achievement means more than a number in a gradebook. It means helping students discover their strengths and passions. Students feel this teacher cares about them both academically and personally. This teacher has a genuine love and loyalty for his/her school and supports it in every way possible.

  • Nominee must be a high school teacher
  • Essay should identify at least one example of mentorship and/or teaching excellence

No team is complete without a dedicated athletic trainer to support athletes both on and off the field. The Most Spirited Athletic Trainer pairs expertise with unwavering enthusiasm and encouragement. Students know they can count on this athletic trainer through the ups and downs of life as a student athlete.

  • Nominee must be a high school athletic trainer
  • Essay should identify specific examples of commitment, training excellence and spirit

The Most Spirited Staff Member makes outstanding contributions to a school’s spirit culture. This person turns their job into an extraordinary opportunity to make others happy, without expecting anything in return. This person holds an important, but perhaps underappreciated role within the school district (i.e., cafeteria staff, bus driver, crossing guard, custodians or administrative staff) but is still known and loved by students, faculty and community members alike.

  • Nominee must be a high school staff member
  • Essay should identify specific examples of commitment, enthusiasm and spirit

The Most Spirited School Counselor is dedicated to serving as an advocate for students. This counselor skillfully balances the many demands of their profession. This person is well-loved by students and parents and works hard to assess the academic, social and emotional needs of students. This person also works hard to ensure that students are prepared for life after high school and assists students in finding their best post-graduate options.

  • Nominee must be a high school guidance counselor
  • Essay should identify at least one example of mentorship excellence

The Most Spirited School Tradition is a long-standing, meaningful tradition that ignites school and community pride. This tradition should include the majority of the school/student body and should have a unique and personal significance for the members of that community.

  • Nominee must be a high school
  • Tradition must have existed for at least four years
  • Tradition must involve the majority of the student body/community
  • Tradition must be positive, uplifting and uniquely significant to the school

The high school is the heartbeat of its community, and as such has the tremendous power to make a positive impact. The Most Spirited Community Service Project engages high school students and staff in an effort to improve their surroundings.

  • Nominee must be a high school
  • Project must involve the majority of the student body/community
  • Project must be positive, uplifting and uniquely significant to the school

The Most Spirited Booster Club is a motivated group of parents who supports their school’s athletic program with dedication and enthusiasm. This booster club works in cooperation with team coaches to make sure every student on the team has the resources necessary to succeed. This group can be counted on to fundraise, organize team events (dinners, banquets, etc.), attend games, and serve as positive role models to the students they serve.

  • Nominee must be a high school booster club
  • Essay should identify specific contributions to school

The most memorable school yearbooks have a theme sets it apart from other school years – a theme that captures the specific spirit and personality of that group of students. Themes based on school pride are perennial favorites. The Most Spirited Yearbook publically celebrates achievements large and small, group and individual contributions to the school.

  • Nominee must be a school yearbook staff
  • Essay should include specific examples of school pride from the 2017 or 2018 yearbook

This award is for a school that puts tremendous thought and effort into their annual graduation ceremony. The Most Spirited Graduation celebrates the achievements of graduating seniors and inspires success in the rest of the student body. Students will remember this ceremony for the rest of their lives.

  • Nominee must be a school
  • Essay should detail what sets nominees graduation ceremony apart from others

The most spirited schools cultivate an atmosphere where all students feel welcomed and accepted. The Spirit of Inclusion Award will honor one school that goes out of its way to welcome new students, accommodate students with diverse needs and educate students about issues related to diversity and inclusion.

  • Nominee must be a school
  • Essay should describe at least two school programs or initiatives to support school inclusiveness

The Spirit of Sportsmanship Award will honor one athletic team that shows respect and graciousness to opposing teams, referees and school groups. This team goes out of its way to welcome visiting opponents and maintains a positive attitude during all events.

  • Nominee must be an athletic team
  • Essay must identify specific examples or anecdotes demonstrating sportsmanship

The American Spirit Leader Award will honor one cheer team with an ongoing commitment to community service, outstanding school athletic support, creative spirit raising activities and strong academics.

  • Nominee must be a high school cheer team
  • Essay should identify specific examples of spirit raising activities, community involvement and commitment to academics

The overall winning team will receive a trip to the 2018 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship for 2 coaches and 4 captains/squad members along with:

  • A feature spot on ESPN
  • Awards for spring banquet
  • A feature spot on Varsity.com & Varsity TV
  • A feature in American Cheerleader Magazine

Entry must include:

  • One 700-word essay, divided as follows:
    • Team mission statement (a brief description of team goals, objectives and activities) – 100 words
    • Description of team’s community service projects and initiatives, and the impact they’ve had on the community – 250 words
    • Description of team’s most successful spirit raising activities and the impact they’ve had on the school – 250 words
    • Description of team’s commitment to academic excellence and the measures taken to reach team academic standards – 100 words
  • Photos
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Principal or Athletic Director
    • Community Leader
  • Optional: links to press clippings or video footage of the team

The American Spirit Leader Award will honor one dance team with an ongoing commitment to community service, outstanding school athletic support, creative spirit raising activities and strong academics.

  • Nominee must be a high school dance team
  • Essay should identify specific examples of spirit raising activities, community involvement and commitment to academics

The overall winning team will receive a trip to the 2018 UDA National Dance Team Championship for 2 coaches and 4 captains/squad members along with:

  • A feature spot on ESPN
  • Awards for spring banquet
  • A feature spot on Varsity.com & Varsity TV

Entry must include:

  • One 700-word essay, divided as follows:
    • Team mission statement (a brief description of team goals, objectives and activities) – 100 words
    • Description of team’s community service projects and initiatives, and the impact they’ve had on the community – 250 words
    • Description of team’s most successful spirit raising activities and the impact they’ve had on the school – 250 words
    • Description of team’s commitment to academic excellence and the measures taken to reach team academic standards – 100 words
  • Photos
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Principal or Athletic Director
    • Community Leader
  • Optional: links to press clippings or video footage of the team

The America’s Most Spirited High School Contest honors one high school that demonstrates unparalleled school spirit and community pride. To enter, schools must submit a 90-second video featuring footage from games, pep rallies, student activities, graduation or anywhere school spirit is on display. Submissions must also include a 500-word essay detailing the school’s “Spirit Story,” two letters of recommendation and two photos demonstrating school spirit.

Four finalists will be selected and put to a nationwide vote. Check out last year’s finalists here.

  • Submissions may not include any copyrighted materials or music

Presented By