Discouraged and disappointed–two things Taylor Kate Pickett felt as she looked around the gym at one of her first pep rallies. She saw students sitting, on their phones, and hardly anybody participating. She knew she had to do something.
“Our school spirit was rapidly decreasing, so I wanted to find a way to bring it back and make it more powerful than it ever was,” Pickett said.
A year later, in the same gym, with the same students, Taylor notices a different spirit. She looks around and sees people standing up and cheering and showing their pride in the school, and Taylor hopes that her actions had a hand in it.
As a sophomore, Pickett combined her passion for videography and school spirit to create the Lovejoy Vlog YouTube account and Instagram account @lovejoycheervlogs.
“Taylor has a lot to do with [school spirit]–not just in her vlog, but also in helping make the hashtag #MakeSchoolSpiritCoolAgain so successful that it quickly changed to #SchoolSpiritIsCoolAgain,” cheer parent Kelly Abernathy said.
Pickett’s accounts feature events from different spirit organizations, including cheer, the Majestics, band and the student council. She edits various content together to form a Youtube video of spirit events at the school. She encourages students to send in their own videos via Direct Message to the Instagram, so they can be featured in the vlogs as well.
“I look forward to watching Taylor and the cheerleaders continue to work so closely with our amazing band, the Majestics, STUCO [student counsel], and of course, the Dirty Drumline, to make the Lojo Jungle one of the most spirited and most fun student sections ever,” Abernathy said.
Since creating the account her freshman year, Pickett has gained her current 1140 combined account followers. She began posting school vlogs regularly this school year.
“I have gotten wonderful feedback,” Pickett said. “Most parents are busy and don’t have time to [attend] every single event our school puts on, and [they] miss out on seeing their kids perform and enjoy high school. I have gotten tons of DMs, emails and texts about how now they feel included in the Lovejoy community.”
To keep producing weekly videos, Pickett spends her weekends filming, editing and posting content for the account.
“Usually after a week of recorded school events, I end up with around 10 hours of footage,” Pickett said. “I end up editing all Saturday for about six to eight hours, and upload the videos Sunday or Monday. Then I spread the link on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, so parents can watch them along with students.”
Although she started the videos on her own, some cheerleaders stepped in to help Pickett film events she could not attend herself, such as senior cheerleaders filming varsity football games. Even with the help, Pickett faces the decision of whether in the future she will continue the accounts at her own college or pass it on to another Lovejoy student.
“I’m really grateful for the effort [Taylor Kate] puts into her videos,” senior Olivia Porsch said. “I know it’s a thing she does just for fun right now, but I think in the future it will be a really cool way to look back on the school year and all of the memories we have made as a cheer team and as a school.”
Pickett said that the positive feedback has motivated her to keep making the videos.
“I’ve always been very passionate about making videos,” Pickett said, “so having all this positive feedback makes me want to continue making these videos for the rest of my high school career.”