Surf, swim and summer sun: Annual Spirit Kickoff excites with beach-themed activities


Shareen Chahal

Jai Vir Mehta (12) rides on the mechanical shark, one of the main attractions at Friday’s Spirit Kickoff. Harker Spirit Leadership Team hosted the kickoff, themed Spirit of Summer, on Friday afternoon.

by Felix Chen and Kinnera Mulam

Over 200 students and faculty attended the Spirit Kickoff event themed Spirit of Summer in the quad on Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT), who organized the event, distributed shaved ice, watermelon and various baked goods in addition to hosting a multitude of activities. The most popular — and crowded — activity was “Surf the Shark”: riding a mechanical shark for as long as possible before it threw the rider off. HSLT members used a leaderboard to keep track of  the longest ride times. At the end of the competition, HSLT committee member Robert Fields (10) emerged as the victor.

“My favorite event has definitely been the mechanical shark,” Director of Student Organizations and HSLT Advisor Eric Kallbrier said. “It’s been hilarious watching people try to ride it for more than a few seconds. I think there’s only been a few people who have lasted for 30 seconds or more, which is really impressive.”

Other activities included guessing games, cookie decorating, a photo booth and a treasure hunt. For the guessing games, students submitted slips of paper with their guesses for the number of Swedish Fish and gummy bears placed in two separate jars. Near the entrance of the quad, HSLT arranged a prize wheel with rewards like head of the line passes and penalties like Man Overboard, where students were doused with a cup of water.

HSLT will release competition results on Tuesday with shark-themed prizes for Surf the Shark in addition to boba drinks and the candy jars for guessing game winners, according to Kallbrier. Additionally, around 20 students across all four grades began painting their respective class eagles white in preparation for homecoming festivities, which HSLT hoped to raise anticipation for through the event.

We want to get everyone super excited about Homecoming Week, especially the freshmen because this is their first time experiencing the upper school spirit

— Cynthia Wang (11), HSLT Competitive Events Secretary

“We want to get everyone super excited about Homecoming Week, especially the freshmen because this is their first time experiencing the upper school spirit,” HSLT Competitive Events Secretary Cynthia Wang (11) said. “We really just want to set it apart from anything they’ve experienced in the past.”

For Janam Chahal (9), along with her friends, the kickoff event was an exciting introduction to Harker spirit at the upper school. In the future, she looks forward to participating in and attending more spirit events.

“Just seeing everyone out here and having fun together at the beginning of the year is really amazing,” Janam Chahal (9) said. “I’m also interested in doing spirit too, so it’s cool to see what is part of it, who’s doing spirit and what kind of events are included.”

Kallbrier thanks HSLT for all the effort they put into making the event possible and for energizing the students who attended. He commends them for the hours they spent last week setting up the quad in preparation for the event, and although this year’s turnout was much higher than last year’s, he still hopes for more students to join the festivities.

“Don’t miss out on your high school experience,” Kallbrier said. “Just like people came out today to play games, get involved and be silly — try new things, put yourself out there to be goofy and enjoy being a teenager in high school because it’s never gonna happen again.”