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Brandon Zau

Ainslie Chen stands behind the freshman eagle while Lindsey Tuckey paints the eagle wings. This year’s freshman class color is white.

Day 1: Homecoming Week kick off with Sudoku, word search and riddles

Students participated in spirit activities organized by the Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) yesterday including Sudoku, class eagle judging, an online word search and riddles. 

The Sudoku competition was located outside Dobbins where students scrambled to fill their class’s nine-by-nine Sudoku grid written on the concrete in chalk. The class of 2024 emerged victorious as they finished at 9:26 a.m. with Anaya Mandal (10) exclaiming “We finished first!”

Due to the pandemic, Homecoming week activities and events were put on pause. Smrithi Sambamurthy (11) describes how she missed spirit week the past two years and why she appreciates the celebration.

“Homecoming week is a pretty big deal and I only got to experience it once,” Smrithi said. “Everyone comes together and it’s really fun to see everyone dress up, and show their spirit, especially at the Homecoming game.”

HSLT Competitive Committee Secretary Paulina Gicqueau (11) talks about the effort and hard work she and her team has put into these events as well as how appreciative she is that Homecoming week activities can be organized again.

“I’m very excited because it’s been a while since we’ve done in person Homecoming week, but I’m also quite nervous because there’s a lot going on and I want to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Paulina said. “I’m excited because my team and I put a lot of work into it and there are some very fun prizes involved.”

For the class eagles, each grade received a theme to base their eagle decorations around. The freshmen received the theme of old-school movies, so to represent that, their eagle sports the iconic yellow plaid blazer donned by Cher Horowitz from the 1995 film “Clueless.” Other movies depicted were “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music” along with an illustration of Snow White. 

We’re all trying to do what we can and try to remind high school students that they are still teenage children and that life isn’t all about studying for your chemistry test or getting that lab done.”

— Upper school chemistry teacher and Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) adviser Andrew Irvine

With the theme of old-school music, the class of 2024 eagle resembles English singer Rick Astley. One side of the structure displays “Spice 2024” in bold colorful text in addition to a link created with the purpose of Rickrolling those who visit.

Juniors featured various modern pop artists to fit with their theme of new school music. They embellished their eagle’s wings with stickers to simulate the “Sour” album by American singer Olivia Rodrigo, and scrawled around the base of the eagle were lyrics from the song “Old Town Road” by American rapper and singer Lil Nas X.

Seniors represented the theme of new school movies which they exhibited through their Shrek-themed eagle. An illustration of Spiderman with the words “Homecoming” scratched above references both the Homecoming game this Saturday and the 2017 movie “Spiderman: Homecoming.”

HSLT posted 12 riddles around campus for students to attempt to solve for personal entertainment rather than for spirit points. Once participants completed the riddles, they could locate an HSLT member to check their answers.

Director of Student Organizations and Assistant Upper School Activities Coordinator Eric Kallbrier sent out a small word search to the upper school community via email this morning. Once participants found all nine words, they could submit it in a Google form, which would tally up the total number of submissions from each class to add to each grade’s spirit points. 

These four activities created a competitive yet entertaining atmosphere in which classmates met and bonded with each other.

“You’re going to be with these people for the next however many years you have left of high school, and it’s important to bond with them,” Yifan Li (9) said. “It’s also important to have some fun and have a break.”

Spirit activities permit both students and faculty to take a breath and momentarily divert their attention away from the stress of the academic world. 

“We’re all trying to do what we can and try to remind high school students that they are still teenage children and that life isn’t all about studying for your chemistry test or getting that lab done,” upper school chemistry teacher and HSLT adviser Andrew Irvine said. “It’s about celebrating our community and building that community. That’s what spirit does.”

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