Other stories filed under Features
Spirit Week 2017
March 21, 2017
Spirit Week — Some students might hear this phrase and roll their eyes, but HB takes this time of year incredibly seriously. The week before, classes competed in the Penny Wars, where all the money went to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. During Spirit Week itself, students dressed up to match the day’s theme, be it Pajama or USA Day. At the end of the week, everyone gathered in the gym to watch skits and dances performed by each class. Spirit Week isn’t just about who’s winning (although that’s a lot of fun, too): it’s about coming together as a class and as a school to let loose before vacation and have a good time.
Below is a compilation of the many parts of Spirit Week, from Penny Wars to the Pep Rally.
An annual tradition during the second half of the HB school year is the rounding up of loose change (especially pennies) by students in order to donate to a charity during Spirit Week. When asked how long “Penny Wars” has been going on, Scott VanCoughnett, ‘18, said: “For as long as I can remember.” “Penny Wars” is considered a tradition in the halls of Hollis Brookline High School. Year after year, the Penny Wars Challenge benefits the classes competing in HB’s Spirit Week. It almost always takes place during Spirit Week, but this year was different.
The money was collected during the week prior to the actual Spirit Week this time around. This broke the normal tradition. As a result, many students were unaware that Penny War was happening. Maryanne Rotelli, a class advisor and science teacher at HB, said, “I believe it could have been marketed a lot more.” From 93 interviews of students in the halls of HB, only 59 knew Penny Wars had happened. Even more shocking, only 23 people donated.
If Penny Wars is continued next year, it would be at the benefit of the students looking to win Spirit Week, as well as the charity the money goes to, for Student Council to get the message out.
Different Spirit Week days
The week before February break, HB has different crazy dress up days for Spirit Week. From USA pride schoolwide, to relaxing in pajamas on pajama day, each person who dresses up gets a point for their class that will be added up at the end of the day for a chance to earn first place among the other classes.
A lot of students say that they like the different dress up days, because they wear things they normally wouldn’t. Everyone looks a little ridiculous, but it’s all in good fun. On Monday, the students and staff just had to roll out of bed to come to school in their comfy pj’s; the juniors took first place this day. Tuesday, the school was feeling tropical in their beach day gear, ending the day with sophomores in first place. Sophomores also took first place on Wednesday, showing their national pride for USA day. On Thursday, the senior class was feeling groovy, taking first place for Tie-Dye day.
Last but not least, the seniors took first place on Friday with a skit that didn’t leave a dry eye in the audience. Junior Livy Monbleau said, “The seniors’ skit made me really emotional because most of my friends are upper classmen, and it’s really sad to see them leave and knowing that they’re graduating.”
Creative takes on Spirit Week
The various themes for Spirit Week were colorful, creative and liberating for many students. For some, however, that wasn’t enough – they decided to take it one step further. For example, Anthony Basque ‘18 wore a crusader’s helmet during USA day, which he had borrowed from Aidan Canfield ‘18. With a plastic American flag sticking out of one eye slit and a red white and blue flower necklace, Anthony said, “Communism is dead. Freedom is the truth.”
Rachel Romanow ‘18 came into school on tie-dye day wrapped in a plethora of her father’s ties, with the one on her chest reading “DYE” in bright letters. “I came completely covered in ties because it was a pun, and I thought it was punny,” she said.
These creative ways in which some students interpreted the given days were an interesting and creative alternative to the norm.
Picking the theme
Picking a theme for the class of 2017’s Spirit Week skit came very easily to Student Council. Senior class representative Natalie Paquin said, “Since sophomore year, there was always an idea of Magic School Bus to be the theme.” The senior class wanted to save it for senior year because it was such an amazing idea and they wanted it for their last year of high school.
“This theme was a good way of bringing back old memories from our past such as Hollis and Brookline meeting for the first time, or going on the Washington DC trip,” said Student Body President Maggie O’ Hara. This idea was a great way to remember the memories seniors made together while at HB and bring the senior class closer together.
Spirit Week skits
During Spirit Week, all classes spend time after school to work on posters, props, dancing, and the pep rally skit. This year, the underclassmen worked as hard as ever, and on Friday, February 24, they performed their skits in the HB gym.
The freshman class of 2020 started off the skits with a theme of “Safari.” In their skit, the class’s spirit escaped from capture after it was tired of being unappreciated. Members of the class took a journey through the jungle to get it back.
From a dense jungle to the world of monsters, the gym transformed with the class of 2019’s Monsters Inc. theme. Erin Moynihan ‘19, who played Celia Mae, explained that in their skit, power wasn’t generated by screams (as it was in the movie), but by stress. The cast later discovered that spirit is a better power source than stress.
Afterwards, the gym moved from the Monsters Inc. office and back to Earth, where the class of 2018 spoofed the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with an HB-themed twist. “Mickey Friedman’s Day Off” mostly paralleled the movie, but with scenes changed to HB locations, according to Becca Ide and Jacqueline Hale ‘18. For instance, the restaurant in the movie, Chez Quiz, was replaced with Val’s Pizza in Brookline.
The underclassmen performed their skits during the Pep Rally with rigor and truly proved that they could show their spirit.
Spirit Week secrecy
While Spirit Week’s skits and jokes have changed from year to year, one tradition has remained constant: the senior skit’s secrecy. Or, at least, they’ve tried to keep it constant.
While it’s often tradition for seniors to keep the subject of their assembly skit secret, it’s slipped a few times in the past few Spirit Weeks. In 2017, however, the graduating class intended to keep its Magic School Bus theme behind locked doors until the assembly on February 24.
Maggie O’Hara ‘17 doesn’t know how far back the tradition of skit secret-keeping goes, but she knows that it definitely unites the classes in anticipation for the big reveal. She also believed that the various Spirit Week competitions build suspense for the skit. “I hope that our dress-up days and other competitions help to keep them on their toes,” she said during Spirit Week, “because if we’re ahead on skit day, then they’ve got something to worry about.”
Meghan Corban ‘17 speculated that this year’s trailer video built up the tension of other classes, simply noting that “not knowing is suspenseful in and of itself.” HB will have to wait for the future to see if the tradition of senior class secrecy will hold up.
For the past few weeks, the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors have been planning and plotting their poster designs for spirit week. Every year, HB is impressed by the intricate details and sizes of each class’s posters, but not everyone considers the time and effort it takes to create them. Senior Kristi Fox, who has helped create the posters every year, said that “it takes a long time and requires a lot of prep. You need to make sure you have the right amount of paper in advance to make sure it fits in your spot.” In addition to this, Madilyn Partridge ‘17 said “Not having a lot of background space is important. You need to fill up the empty space.”
From the other end of the class spectrum, Teresa DeMaio ‘20 said that the freshmen created their outlines in a separate meeting, and then painted the poster afterwards. She also said she absolutely plans on doing it again, and having three more years at HB, she has many more years of poster painting to come.
As expected, everyone’s posters achieved resounding success, continuing the legacy of incredible artistry among all of HB’s classes.
Unified team vs. staff basketball game
Spirit Week is always an exciting week at HB, with all of the festivities and clothing attire. To kick off this year’s Spirit Week, there was a basketball game between the Unified Team and the Staff of HB during the opening ceremonies. The game was one 10-minute period with the Unified Team coming out on top, beating the Staff 14 to 4. Even though the game was basically a blow out, it still had the crowd on their toes, and it was a fun time for the players.
Garrett Maloney ‘18 said, “It was really fun getting that experience with the kids and it makes them really happy to go up against all the people that help them out every day. It’s awesome that our school does that every year and I know that those kids really enjoy and appreciate it. They love true competition with the staff and were looking forward to it ever since they heard the game was going to happen.”
The staff also enjoyed the game immensely and had fun playing against the kids they teach. English teacher Ann Melim said, “It was fun and I was surprised how good some of the teachers were at basketball.” The game was a nice, friendly competition, and is a great ritual to kick off spirit week at HB.
A fond farewell: what Spirit Week meant to this year’s seniors
Spirit Week is always exciting for every grade involved, but the class of 2017 made it extra-special this year. The feeling of unity was high as they realized this was their last Spirit Week, so they made the most of their last major collaboration. Seniors poured in throughout the week to help with preparations for the pep rally. During one session of poster painting, they played nostalgic from the 2000’s music that they danced to in middle school.
“It’s super exciting because everyone gets to come together for one last hurrah,” said Emma Bruseo. “I love watching how everything comes together, because it starts as paper and becomes this huge thing.”
Meghan Corban agreed, adding: “Even though it’s a competition between the classes, I think that during Spirit Week, whenever our class sees another class struggling, they help out. Like, last year a lot of the classes ran out of tape when they were trying to hang up their posters, and other classes had extra so they let them use it. A lot of people still come together and help each other out.”
In their final skit, the seniors ended the rally with a bang – and many tears. After Ms. Frizzle’s Magic School Bus took the seniors back through the class’ major moments, they were reminded that the day Hollis and Brookline came together as the class of 2017 six years ago was where their spirit started. All they needed to find their spirit again was to remember who they were, and what they could accomplish together.
Favorite Spirit Week days
During Spirit Week, students have five days to prove that their class has the most school spirit. This year, the five spirit-filled days were: Pajama Day, Tropical Day, Tie Dye Day, USA Day, and HB Day. But what day was everyone’s favorite? According to our HB poll, Pajama day was the most popular. Amy Norton ‘19 said, “It’s nice having pajama day on a Monday because it’s comfortable.” Lindsey Houle ‘19 said “…you can match with friends and the best part is you can just wake up, grab your backpack, and go.
Infographic by Ash Guthrie.