Spirit Week bridges upper school community virtually


Provided by Zubin Khera

A flier made by the freshman class summarizing the events taking place throughout Spirit Week. “I was definitely looking forward to the spring spirit rally, but I’m glad HSLT and the student council worked together to ensure a virtual version of spring spirit still would happen,” Michelle Jin (9) said.

by Sarah Mohammed, Reporter

Upper school students participated in a virtual spirit week for the first time this year, with various events and dress-up days organized by the Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) throughout the week of April 13. 

Each class made their own virtual “quilts,” collages of drawings students were invited to submit of their favorite things. Monday was pajama day, Tuesday was fandom day, Wednesday was neon day, Thursday was throwback day and on Friday students dressed up in class colors. In addition, the HSLT organized activities, such as Mad Libs with upper school theater teacher Jeffrey Draper at lunch on Tuesday, name the tune during Thursday’s lunch and the opportunity to submit pictures of hand-baked goods adhering to the theme of spring throughout the week. 

The score results from the week’s activities, revealed via video on Friday, left the junior class in fourth place with 260 points, the senior class in third with 335 points, the freshman class in second with 625 points and the sophomores taking first with 840 points. 

Overall point tallies for the year were also announced: freshmen finished in fourth with 2,475 points, sophomores came in third with 3,190 points and juniors took second with 3,910 points, leaving the senior class in first as they were named this year’s spirit champions.

HSLT placed an emphasis on bringing ideas and activities that would be engaging and fun to bring the community together. Grace Hajjar (12), HSLT president, recognized that the switch to an online spirit week was not easy. 

“When we first met at the beginning of [shelter-in-place], we came in with the mindset that we would still be returning to school after spring break, and everything was totally going as planned,” Grace said. “But eventually we found out that wasn’t going to happen anymore, so we started thinking of ways that we could transfer the activities that we had planned already.” 

While arranging spirit week plans, Grace wanted to make sure that activities were still accessible despite students likely being unable to go out and buy outfits for dress-up days. 

“We made [dress-up days] more accessible because you could change your virtual background to be something related to that. We’re just trying to make it easier for kids to still be participating in spirit. It’s not the same and we understand that, but we’re still trying to create activities that bring the community together,” Grace said. 

Lisa Barooah (11), the vice president of competitive events, noted that spirit’s central goal — bringing the community together — has been harder to fulfill due to the closure of in-person school. 

“In general, we try to involve as many people as possible in spirit events, because spirit is watching your grade come together. It’s been difficult to do that when we are so far apart,” Lisa said. 

The HSLT has also faced challenges with keeping students aware as to how they can participate in spirit even with the barrier of distance. The team tried their best to send out updates, and in the end, they recognized spirit as a means for keeping the community together. 

“When we’re not at school, it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s going on. The challenge is keeping everyone aware and updated on what’s happening,” Grace said. “We’re just trying to promote happiness and a sense of community during this really strange time.” 

Jai Vir Mehta (9) loved virtual spirit week as an opportunity to engage with his class further and feel connections with his community. 

“I really liked how everyone got into the spirit of 2023 pride regardless of the physical boundaries that separated one another,” Jai Vir said. “Many freshmen were urgently texting other freshmen to send in pictures of something yellow to represent their class. In this way, despite the physical boundaries imposed by social distancing, we were able to mentally join together and compete against the other classes.”

Michelle Jin (9) enjoyed participating in the virtual spirit week, though she missed having the chance to participate in the annual spirit rally. 

“I was definitely looking forward to the spring spirit rally, but I’m glad HSLT and the student council worked together to ensure a virtual version of spring spirit still would happen,” Michelle said. “It’s been a lot of fun sending in funny dress up photos for the dress up days, attending the various Zoom activities and submitting in a cool quilt for the quilt contest.”