The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

The Knight's Banner

The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

The Knight's Banner

The Student News Site of Rice Memorial High School

The Knight's Banner

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December 9, 2023

Spirit Week is Here to Stay

Seniors in their hallway on class color day. (Photo/LoisAnne Cefarello)

Last week marked the continuation of a beloved Rice tradition: spirit week. While this is a common occurrence throughout many schools in the nation, Rice’s spirit weeks take on special meaning as they are a rare opportunity for students to shed their uniforms and adopt a more eclectic style of dress. Thus, the school turns into a vibrant display of color and personality conveyed in crazy outfits. These outfits are dictated by the student council, who spend time devising themes for the days. This week’s themes included class color day, twin day, Barbie v. Oppenheimer day, and Green and White day.

However, this year’s opening spirit week was under intense scrutiny by both faculty and academic council due to the somewhat dismal show of student participation in the past. This was felt by student leaders of the school, such as senior class president Hannah Cunningham. “The academic council was questioning the value of spirit week, so we knew we had to go all out. There was definitely some pressure because I didn’t want our senior class to be infamous for ruining spirit weeks. The student council decided to decorate the hallways in hopes of boosting school spirit. I wanted to prove the doubters wrong and with the senior class going all out and leading the way, it was the best spirit week I’ve seen.”

This was a common sentiment among many at Rice who have worked closely with both the academic council and spirit weeks. Mr. DiFalco, student council advisor, said, “There was serious concern on the academic council that… you know, they weren’t going to let us do this [spirit week]. This week was a definite positive.”

The question hanging above this year’s debuting spirit week was, ‘What made this week so much better?’ Senior Lucia Bird Matarazzo said, “I think all of the classes take their cue from the seniors as far as spirit week goes. This year we have a lot of really motivated seniors with such great energy that they channeled into the week. I think that their energy was infectious, and the entire school caught on to make this the best spirit week I’ve ever experienced at Rice.”

From left to right: seniors Kayleigh McCullen, Emilie Buttolph, Bridget Krause, Berit Gross, and Hannah Cunningham on Barbie/Oppenheimer day. (Photo/Stacy Bessette)

Beyond senior participation, however, many felt as though there was yet another factor to this week that set it apart from the past. “The hallways. That was a great way to start my week as a teacher here. Walking in and having them decorated… it kind of just set the tone,” said Mrs. Hebert, a new teacher to Rice.

Indeed, many faculty members seemed to share the feeling that the hallway decor added something to the week. Mr. Cirignano, a Rice teacher for the past 17 years, went so far as to say, “I think this was the best [spirit] week in my time here.”

From left to right, juniors Elizabeth Cunningham, Kyle Clougherty, and Andrew Greene decorate their hallway. (Photo/Megan Shrestha)

However, many agree that decor was not the only factor that made this spirit week a success. Mr. Cirignano also went on to say that, “this administration encouraged student participation by making it a kind of class competition.”

Andrew Nagy, the school principal, commented, “I think that having competitions, healthy competitions, every day was definitely, you know, helpful. And I think Rice is such a school where everyone really likes to compete. And so that seemed to work well.”

Competing to win a dress-down day created an incentive for students to participate. Senior Berit Gross agreed with this in saying, “The prize of a dress-down day motivated the students to work together and go all out in their respective classes.”

This was the goal from the start as the objective of a spirit week is to boost school morale. With over ninety percent school participation, it seems that spirit week was successful in that goal.

With this spirit week being the most successful in recent years, Rice students proved that spirit weeks can still serve their purpose without being lowered to the status of glorified dress-down days. The administration attempted to assuage any student worries of spirit weeks going away in the future.

“I think students proved that spirit weeks are here to stay,” said Nagy.



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Giles Heilman, Editor-In-Chief
Giles started the Knight's Banner in partnership with Hannah Cunningham in December of 2022. Believing strongly in the expression of student ideas, Giles sees a student-run newspaper as one of the best ways to show what goes on within the walls of Rice while at the same time celebrating those who make it special. Having experience in both journalism and photography, Giles hopes to help make the Knight's Banner an integral part of the Rice community.
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