Has Spirit Week Improved?


Ugly Christmas sweater day. From left to right, Mary Moyer, Kate Larkin, Whitney Williams, Sophia Chan, and Privany Soungha. (Photo/Megan Shrestha)

Allison Winslow, Staff Writer

Spirit Weeks, one of the national treasures of American high schools, are weeks where fashion takes on new meaning as hundreds of students dress as witty puns, clichés, and movie characters. At Rice Memorial High School, dress code requirements mean fewer opportunities for students to express themselves through clothing. As a result, most see the week as a rare time to ditch the uniform and have some fun during the long winter months. However, others disagree.

After past years of lackluster Spirit Weeks, some teachers are beginning to lose faith in the idea. “A lot of teachers’ opinions are tainted because last year was so bad,” math teacher and student council advisor Paul DiFalco said. Lack of participation and dwindling interest in themes make many teachers liken the week to glorified dress-down days.

That being said, participation in this year’s festivities increased substantially. Take the gr-outfit day (a day dedicated to gray outfits) for example – no matter where one looked on that day all they saw was a sea of gray. Teachers also participated, sporting gray ties, button-ups, and even sweatpants.

From left to right, Coleton Merchant, Elizabeth Cunningham, Evey Slavik, and Wyatt Wolpert on gr-outfit day. (Photo/Steffen Parker)

“I was really happy to have a ‘Gr-outfit’ [day]. I thought that was never going to come back,” said teacher Darren Clas. Many teachers and students were impressed by the immense turnout, after the past years where it has been lacking. Many felt this was a banner year of Spirit Week participation.

Though Spirit Week is meant to boost morale, some teachers, such as Steffen Parker, argue otherwise. “I don’t think that the Spirit Week itself increases school pride because we’re not doing something that’s Rice-specific,” he said.

However, many still believe that the week brings people together through the silliness and fun that comes with dressing to the different themes. Clas is part of that group. “I think that it’s really good for our morale,” Clas said. “People are having a lot more fun with it.”

Rice Memorial High School teacher Michael Mazzella during Jersey Day. (Photo/Giles Heilman)

Both fall and winter Spirit Weeks have been some of the best Rice has had yet, and it seems as if they’re just going to keep improving. Mr. DiFalco and the student council pick memorable themes such as tropical day, country vs. country club, and ski day, making Spirit Week interesting and simple enough for everyone to participate.

Despite the many different opinions on Spirit Week, the event still gives students and teachers something to look forward to as they muscle through these gloomy months. It adds a pop of color to everyday routines, breaks up the school year in a fun way, and gives students the chance to show off their individuality.