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Spirit Week kicks homecoming festivities up a notch

“Spirit Week”–a week that began with a sea of green and white students and ended with a hoard of kids who seemed to have lost their place in time. This year was the first for an event as extensive as Spirit Week to accompany the homecoming festivities.

“Zach Calhoun and Isabel Callaway spearheaded getting Spirit Week approved,” said Chelsea Kolff, faculty advisor to the student government, “For everyone, the green and white day, twin day, and America day have all been new.”

“We created a new ‘Spirit Week’ mainly because we thought it would raise student morale and school spirit,” said Zach Calhoun, student body co-chair. “I think most students like Westminster, but it’s fun days like Twin Day that really make the day more inviting and also make homecoming more of a big deal.”

Students were asked to wear a unique outfit each day: Monday was Green and White Day, where freshman and juniors dressed in white and sophomores and seniors wore green. Twin Day Tuesday showcased a range of outfits from that of a typical school day to very bizarre, matching get-ups. Wednesday summoned the true patriot in every student for U.S.A Day, and the week of unusual outfits ended Thursday when students traveled back in time and styled themselves for a previous decade. Seniors represented the ‘90s, juniors the ‘80s, sophomores the ‘70s, and freshmen kept it groovy with the ‘60s.

“We want to make sure that it is a whole school affair,” said Michael He, junior boy’s class president, “instead of previously, how it was very short– you dressed up one day, had the dance, and it was over.”

Unfortunately, not all has been picture perfect in terms of the organization of outfits worn by students.

“There was very poor planning involved in the scheduling of picture day,” said junior Gabriel Bellot-McGrath, stating a common frustration among students, who had to bring in multiple outfits to school on one day.

Along with the picture day confusion, the idea of doing a theme in dress code did not go over as well, nor was  it strictly observed by the students.

“I like the idea of a different theme every day,” said Bellot-McGrath, “but I do not like the idea of doing a theme in dress code.” This mentality of students did not go unnoticed by teachers, who were not clear on how to actually enforce the dress code.

“I have had a couple of concerns from teachers about not knowing when to enforce dress code and when not to,” said Frances Fondren, dean of girls. “We have tried to communicate as much as we can but there has been some confusion for teachers. For example, on Twin Day, kids were supposed to be in dress code, but some were not, and teachers were confused about how they should enforce that.”

Some teachers also raised concerns about money, asking whether some students were buying costumes.

“Often the implication,” said Fondren, “although not a requirement, is that students should go out and buy costumes, or extra pieces to make their costumes better.”

Ultimately, Spirit Week concluded successfully with no major problems and a delighted student body.

While Spirit Week kept students psyched about homecoming, multiple other changes came into play this year, one of which was the removal of displays for each grade. In previous years each grade would have a display and a banner, but this year classes are only making banners.

“Displays are expensive,” said Kolff, “and wasteful because we use all of these materials that just get thrown away after homecoming. We used to spend 800 dollars on the displays, and now that is money that the student government can choose to spend in a different way.”

While the displays were removed from the homecoming experience this year, a larger emphasis was placed on Penny Wars, which has the largest weight in terms of winning the homecoming battle.

The proceeds from Penny Wars go to Habitat for Humanity, more specifically, the Habitat build in which the school takes part along with Pace, Marist, Woodward, and Lovett. Each school must contribute 15,000 dollars in order to build a house, and the school’s Penny Wars plays a role in gaining that money.

New to this year was the highly coveted prize for winning the overall Homecoming challenge – senior privileges. Seniors had to defend their territory during the challenge, or else the underclassmen would be able to kick them off of senior patio and enjoy all of their senior privileges, including eating at the senior outside section in Malone, relaxing on senior patio, and for juniors, parking in senior lot. This created additional motivation for participation in all grades, and led to a decisive senior victory. Freshmen were the runners-up, followed by sophomores, then juniors.

“This year was the most successful year for Penny Wars in a long time,” said Student body co-chair Isabel Callaway, “and I think that largely had to do with the senior privilege incentives as well as the community service council emphasizing penny wars really strongly.”

As for the homecoming dance and homecoming day itself, there were a few keystone additions to each. The dance featured a new DJ, Remi Matthews, who took the reigns for the music and incorporated many student song requests– choosing from more than 400 requests submitted.

“I’m glad to be doing this and I think giving the student body, the chance to choose what songs they want to hear makes this year special,” said Matthews. “Hopefully I brought a great party and a lot of good music with me.”

From bizarre outfits to community service, all of the changes for this year’s homecoming were designed to bring the school together as a community.

“We wanted to make it a positive, community building event,” said Kolff, “a fun experience for everyone in the high school.”

Watch the homecoming festivities culminate in the pep rally.

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