What inspires some of American’s youngest students to show school pride?
Spirit week is arguably one of the most festive and fun-filled times of the year. Students from all four years come together in order to prepare sets, dances, fight scenes, and skits. They toil hard all summer in order to put together a show during Spirit Week. Many students are inspired to participate after seeing one of these grand performances, but what leads freshmen with no prior high school experience to join in on the fun?
“I found out about spirit week from my friend who was running for president,” says Naomi Tchao (9). “They were trying to coordinate everything.”
Although being close to one of the class council candidates introduced Tchao to the idea of participating, the main thing that drives her is her personal passion. “I really like dancing, so it was… natural, I guess. I also really like school spirit.”
She mentions that the idea of representing her class is one of her main motivations. “I’m very enthusiastic about things, and I believe in school pride. Not many people take part in that these days, so I’ll make up for everyone else.”
While talent and pride act as the first steps in pushing someone towards a goal, what really inspires them to continue towards it? Tchao states that it’s the satisfaction of working with others who share the same mentality. “The most enjoyable part is being able to dance with friends, because friends don’t normally like to dance, unless it’s Spirit Week… because it’s something a lot of people like to do, and you see people who don’t normally dance actually try.”
While the dancers themselves have various reasons for participating, what encourages dance leaders to step up and take initiative?
Jalen Reyes (9) mentions that her first encounter with Spirit Week was through her older sister. “My sister went to American, and convinced me to perform because it seemed really fun and exciting!”
Sharing an integral part of herself with others also influenced her decision. “My dance background is Phillipines-dance based, and I wanted to share my culture with everyone, even though my choreography isn’t traditional.”
She also speaks about her experience with Spirit Week so far, and how it has affected her view of the student body. “All of the skits talk about how amazing it is to be an American student; when I’m performing or watching, the adrenaline ran through everyone, keeping me excited for a while. Everything is just so high energy that it gives a welcoming vibe… [there are] some memories I’ve made so far from practices and dress rehearsals. We had a dress rehearsal in the gym on Tuesday, and everything felt so real and exciting!”
While both dancers and dance leaders voluntarily take part, members of the class council don’t have the same luxury.
However, the freshman class president, Aditya Gupta (9), says that he “was inspired to take take part in Spirit Week because it seemed like a great bonding experience for [the freshman] class.”
Moreover, he indicates that Spirit Week really helped him grow accustomed to being a class president, as well as high school as a whole. “My position has changed my outlook [on] high school and American a lot because I always dreaded high school but I now see the fun side of it.”
Despite their confident façade, even class council members have to overcome obstacles. “A big challenge I faced was that I am an inexperienced dancer and lacked basic knowledge about dancing, but [I] was eventually able to pick it up.”
In the end, were all hardships and stress worth it? Gupta says yes. “The dances are so hyped, and so much excitement is built [up] over them… it’s so fun to see all the work you’ve put into a dance finally pay off!”
Spirit Week is arguably one of the most intense times of the school year, with every class competing for glory and recognition. While the incoming freshmen have had little to no exposure to the rollercoaster of emotions that is high school, they share the same mentality as the years before them; a desire to unite and represent.