As Spirit Week finally arrives, you feel the excitement slowly start to build up. You gather up with your friends for a group photo in your matching outfits for Wizard Wednesday with your stick wands in hand. The sound of a voice interrupts your group photo as you’re just about to take it, “6 feet please. Distance yourselves.” Not only do these discouraging words spoil your spirit week photo, but they serve as a reminder that you’re still in a global pandemic.
Hollis Brookline High School’s spirit week during the week of March 15 to March 19 required a lot of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, there will be no spirit week pep rally assembly to prevent large social gatherings. “It’s nice because we don’t have the stress of having everything done for the Friday of the assembly, but it is a lot less hands on than previous years,” said AnnMarie Tremblay ‘21. Tremblay is a senior this year and is a representative on the student council. In the past before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, spirit week always was held before February vacation started. The celebratory week would end on Friday with a big pep rally assembly.
In order to be able to still commemorate spirit week by showcasing the skits of each class’ theme, all skits this year were recorded and filmed outside. By recording the skit, the actors had a lot more freedom because they were able to ensure they get everything just right. “When we record it, we can get it just right. We’ve edited it, it has special effects and music and everything, so it’s kind of cool,” Josh Parr ‘21 said. Parr is a senior who has participated in both skits before the pandemic, and was also part of the skit in the new fashion this year.
Even though filming the skits rather than performing them live has some benefits to it, there were still some new challenges that had to be faced as well. “The hardest part was getting everyone to film and complete the skit in one day because there was only one day everyone was available,” said Tremblay.
In terms of actual participation when it comes to dressing up this year for each class, the pandemic has brought some difficulties since it is not as easy to purchase costumes or some props. “It will be a lot harder for people to dress up especially for [themes like] Wizard Wednesday. We don’t have a lot of people who have wizard hats lying around and with COVID it is kind of hard to get that stuff,” said Parr.
Even with the issues the pandemic has brought, having spirit week this year still serves as a message for our community. Rebecca Balfour started teaching in the Social Studies department at Hollis Brookline High School in the fall of 1999. “I think it’s [the message of spirit week] that this is yet another opportunity for our school to come together and support each other in such an unusual year,” Balfour said.
With the distribution of the vaccines slowly being released to the public, there is hope that the classes next year will be able to celebrate spirit week in the traditional manner.