2019 Categories2018-12-06T11:31:58+00:00

$100,000 in Awards Across 25 Categories

The search is on for students, staff and high schools across the nation who go above and beyond the definition of school spirit.

Varsity Brands is awarding $100,000 across 25 categories, including $3,000 to each winner and a $25,000 Grand Prize for America’s Most Spirited High School!

Nominees must be affiliated with a high school in the United States (student, 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.

EARLY ENTRY: Spirit Leader

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The Spirit Leader Award honors one cheer team and 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 cheerleading squad/dance team
  • 500-word essay detailing the Spirit Leader’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify examples of crowd leading, spirit raising, ambassadorship, entertainment and athleticism

Official Rules: Spirit Leader Award

Grand Prize: America’s Most Spirited High School

Entries Open Jan. 9

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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,” a letter of recommendation and two photos demonstrating school spirit.

  • Nominee must be a high school
  • 500-word essay detailing the school’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of school spirit, community involvement and academic achievement
  • Finalists will be selected and put to a nationwide vote

Official Rules: America’s Most Spirited High School Award

Athlete

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This Athlete exemplifies sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork and humility. 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 success.

  • Nominee must be a high school student
  • Nominee must participate in at least one school sport
  • 500-word essay detailing the athlete’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of leadership, sportsmanship and teamwork

Athletic Director

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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. He or she goes above the call of duty to ensure every student athletes succeeds on and off the field.

  • Nominee must be a high school athletic director
  • 500-word essay detailing the athletic director’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of leadership, teamwork and support

Athletic Trainer

Entries Open Jan. 9

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No team is complete without a dedicated athletic trainer to support athletes both on and off the field. This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the athletic trainer’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of commitment, training excellence and school spirit

Choir

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the choir’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of school involvement, creativity and spirit

Coach

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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 and humility, both on and off the playing field.

  • Nominee must be a high school coach
  • 500-word essay detailing the coach’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of sportsmanship, support and school pride

Community Service Project

Entries Open Jan. 9

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The high school is the heartbeat of its community, and as such, has the tremendous power to make a positive impact. This Community Service Project engages high school students and staff in an effort to improve their surroundings. This venture allows those involved to come together to focus on the “big picture”. 

  • Nominee must be a high school
  • Project must involve the majority of the student body/community
  • 500-word essay detailing the community service project’s “Spirit Story”
  • Community Service Project must be positive, uplifting and uniquely significant to the school

Game Day Experience

Entries Open Jan. 9

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While athletic games are iconic for students to come together and revel in their school pride, there are many moving parts that make high school game day a true experience. This Game Day Experience incorporates the athletic teams, student body, cheerleaders, dancers, mascots, marching band and the like. The tradition runs like a well-oiled machine. This Game Day makes fans want to be a part of this culture every weekend.

  • Nominee must be a high school
  • Game Day must involve the majority of the student body/community/school groups
  • Game Day must be positive, uplifting and uniquely significant to the school
  • 500-word essay detailing the game day experience’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of inclusivity, tradition and school spirit

Graduation

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This award is for a school that puts tremendous thought and effort into their annual graduation ceremony. This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the graduation’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should detail what sets nominees graduation commencement apart from others

Mascot

Entries Open Jan. 9

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The school mascot is the quintessential symbol of community, tradition and school pride. This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the mascot’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific spirit-raising activities, skits and community involvement

Pep Band

Entries Open Jan. 9

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The marching band, drum line and color guard have become All-American staples for school sporting events. This 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, drumline or colorguard
  • 500-word essay detailing the band’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of school involvement, creativity and school spirit

Principal

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the principal’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should specify at least two examples of nominee’s commitment to elevating and improving the student experience

School Counselor

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the school counselor’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify examples of mentorship excellence, student support and school involvement

School Tradition

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the school tradition’s “Spirit Story”
  • Tradition must be positive, uplifting and uniquely significant to the school

Spirit of Inclusion

Entries Open Jan. 9

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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
  • 500-word essay detailing the school’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should describe at least two school programs or initiatives to support school inclusiveness

Spirit of Sportsmanship

Entries Open Jan. 9

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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
  • 500-word essay detailing the team’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story must identify specific examples or anecdotes demonstrating sportsmanship and humility

Spirit of St. Jude

Entries Open Jan. 9

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The Spirit of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a celebration of those who are dedicated to ending childhood cancer. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Students and schools across the country are creative innovative ways to raise funds for St. Jude each day, and their efforts should be applauded.

  • Nominee must be a high school
  • Fundraiser must involve the majority of the student body/community
  • 500-word essay detailing the fundraiser’s “Spirit Story”
  • Fundraiser must be positive, uplifting and uniquely significant to the school

Staff Member

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This Staff Member makes outstanding contributions to a school’s 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the Staff member’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of commitment, enthusiasm and school spirit

Student

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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 most positive light. This person consistently attends school events and displays the utmost sportsmanship, inclusiveness and school pride.

  • Nominee must be a high school student
  • Nominee must participate in at least one school club, sport or activity
  • 500-word essay detailing the student’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify specific examples of leadership, commitment and school spirit

Student Government

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This Student Government is an organized and creative group of students who represent their school with respect and school spirit. This group organizes events and opportunities that bring students together, enhances school pride and elevates the overall student experience.

  • Nominee must be a high school student government organization
  • 500-word essay detailing the Student Government’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should include specific examples of leadership, involvement and school spirit

Superintendent

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the superintendent’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should specify at least two examples of nominee’s commitment to elevating and improving the student experience

Teacher

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This Teacher understands that achievement means more than a number in a gradebook. It means helping students discover their strengths, passions and confidence. 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the teacher’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should identify at examples of mentorship, teaching excellence and school spirit

Team Manager

Entries Open Jan. 9

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This 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
  • 500-word essay detailing the team manager’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should include specific examples or anecdotes regarding this student’s commitment to team manager role

Yearbook

Entries Open Jan. 9

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The most memorable school yearbooks have a theme that 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. This Yearbook publically celebrates achievements large and small, group and individual contributions to the school and the impact the school has on the community.

  • Nominee must be a school yearbook staff
  • 500-word essay detailing the yearbook’s “Spirit Story”
  • Spirit Story should include specific examples of school pride from the 2018 or 2019 yearbook

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