It is somewhat of a Ridgewood Public Schools tradition to hold competitive spirit weeks during the school year where teachers and students alike dress up and have fun. However, at the High School, things seem to be changing. The administration and student government are planning special ‘spirit days’ to be held throughout the school year, not combined into a single week.
Mr. Pizzuto, the administrator in charge of spirit events in Ridgewood High School, puts his faith in the student government; the students are the final stamp of approval on new ideas.
During a recent meeting, run by Mr. Pizzuto and Mrs. Yannone, the student government decided that RHS doesn’t have a student body that is enthusiastic about participating in spirit weeks. Another point brought up was that teachers often dress up during spirit weeks while many students do not. The meeting came to the conclusion that students are more likely to participate in spirit days planned for twice a month, rather than a full week two times a year.
In the middle schools, Spirit Week puts all three grades against each other with a competition component, which in recent years the high school has not done. With each grade acting as a team for the whole week, a sense of unity is built and everyone is excited to see who the winner will be. More students dressing up leads to more points for their team, and since everyone wants their own team to win, it inspires students who normally would not have participated.
In addition to the elimination of spirit weeks, both the administration and the student government decided pep-rallies were a waste of class time. In past years, pep-rallies have been held at the end of the day for one hour for students to participate in activities or listen to their class representatives give speeches. However, recent years have shown that students would rather take a leave-early than spend the last hour of the day in Gym I.
One of the conclusions drawn from the student government meeting: spirit weeks don’t get more people involved. In fact, perhaps because of the somewhat judgemental atmosphere that comes with high school and ‘growing up’, people consciously make decisions not to participate. “If none of my friends are dressing up, then I won’t want to either,” explained sophomore Elizabeth McLaughlin. Many other students share the same attitude. Who would want to be the only person decked out on Color Wars day while everyone else is wearing normal clothes?
The final decision on spirit weeks and spirit days will come from RHS’s student government. In just this year, there have been days that students were able to participate in karaoke in the Campus Center during lunch and participate in a Halloween costume contest. The student council hopes that events like these will encourage more students to be involved and excited for scattered spirit days throughout the school year.
Lia Vaynshteyn & Lydia Han
Graphic: Swathi Kella