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Varsity Brands publishes results of study exploring the connections between school spirit and student achievement

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June 24, 2024

~Findings show that school spirit significantly contributes to students’ overall success~

DALLAS - Varsity Brands, the market leader in sport and spirit, today published its The Power of School Spirit: Elevating Student Wellbeing and Academic Success, which explores the connections between school spirit and student achievement. 

In collaboration with Teneo Research, the opinion research and data analytics arm of the global advisory firm Teneo, Varsity Brands conducted a comprehensive study across the nation's high schools to understand the latest perspectives on the value of school spirit and its impact on the educational ecosystem. The research, which was fielded from December 2023 to February 2024, involved 1,075 respondents, including 300 high school students (grades 10-12), 300 parents of high school students (grades 10-12), 315 administrators (comprising high school superintendents, principals, etc.), and 160 coaches nationwide. 

The findings outlined in the white paper highlight that school spirit significantly contributes to students’ overall success. Students with higher school spirit perform above average academically, are more likely to pursue higher education, are more resilient to obstacles, and develop lifelong skills such as leadership and relationship building. The full paper can be accessed here.

The key findings of the white paper are as follows:  

  • Greater school spirit leads to a multitude of academic and developmental benefits for students: High-spirited students exhibit a greater inclination towards enjoying school events, with nearly twice as many reporting satisfaction compared to their low-spirited peers (78% vs. 54%). Higher school spirit also correlates with greater expectations for higher education, with 58% of high-spirited students anticipating receiving either a graduate or bachelor’s degree.  


  • Stronger school spirit boosts students’ resiliency against negative outcomes: 28% of low-spirited students report feeling lonelier or more isolated since the pandemic, compared to 17% of high-spirited students. Additionally, a staggering 83% of low-spirited students have experienced heightened negative feelings about themselves after using social media. 


  • Promoting student engagement in activities and stronger school-branding efforts are key to growing spirit: Students engaged in extracurriculars, especially sports, are much likelier to have higher spirit. This is best exhibited by promoting school colors, mascots, and attire or uniforms that show cohesive school pride. 51% of high-spirited athletes report an increase in their school spirit, compared to 34% of non-athletes. 


  • Benefits go beyond the classroom, as school engagement also drives inclusion and acceptance: Faculty agree that participation in extracurriculars, especially sports, helps students from different backgrounds feel respected. Coaches also feel that sports teams are more diverse and accepting than the general student body. 67% of coaches believe their teams represent more diversity and acceptance compared to the general student body. Additionally, 94% of coaches state that students on their teams are more accepting of all types of students. 


  • Schools participating in the Varsity Brands’ IMPACT Program show enhanced school spirit outcomes: Schools that are part of the Varsity Brands’ IMPACT Program, which actively engages in collaboration across various stakeholders within the Varsity Brands ecosystem, showcased more positive outcomes related to school spirit and student pride compared to non-IMPACT schools. Two-thirds of IMPACT principals and administrators strongly agree that their students have a lot of pride in their school, compared to just half of administrators in non-IMPACT schools. 


“Our goal is to create the next generation of leaders, and it starts in our schools. At Varsity Brands, we see school spirit as a powerful driver of positive change,” says Varsity Brands CEO, Adam Blumenfeld. “It is proven that school spirit inspires resilience, helps students navigate difficult times, and strengthens their sense of community. As the foremost champion of school spirit, we are committed to nurturing students to become leaders and pillars of their communities, and we are ecstatic that the results speak to this.” 

Since its founding in 1972, Varsity Brands’ mission is to elevate experiences for the youth of today and tomorrow through its divisions, BSN SPORTS and Varsity Spirit. By fostering passion, enthusiasm, and community engagement, Varsity Brands continues to create an environment where students can thrive and transform into community heroes. 

About Varsity Brands
Varsity Brands is the premier provider of customizable team sports, cheer, dance, band, and yearbook services, experiences, and products. The company’s mission is to elevate the student experience, positively impacting the lives of over 55 million young people nationwide. Its divisions—BSN SPORTS and Varsity Spirit—champion youth participation and celebrate their achievements, fostering passion, enthusiasm, and community engagement. The company serves elementary, middle, and high schools, colleges, universities, gyms, club select teams, and professional sports. Explore how Varsity Brands is shaping the future of youth engagement and making a difference in the lives of young people across the country at varsitybrands.com.