DURHAM– Starting on Monday, September 25th, Oyster River High School’s spirit week will commence, bringing forth the craziest outfits, the most competitive classes, and the most valued traditions.
The themes of the week will be as follows: class color day on Monday, twin day on Tuesday, hippie day on Wednesday, camouflage day on Thursday, and finally, blue and white day for the pep rally on Friday. This will be the third consecutive year that spirit week has followed this schedule, and it is an adjustment that some are still getting used to.
“I don’t like how the school is trying to take out the fundamental parts of spirit week. It is a week of competition and being able to represent your class as a grade,” said Jack Bishop (‘19). Along with many other students, Bishop believes that the class competition aspects of spirit week should outweigh the school’s focus on “coming together.”
The decision for the school to “come together” was made in 2015, and instigated the change of moving class color day from Friday to Monday, replacing the original pep rally colors of blue, black, red, and green, with a more unified, school-wide theme of blue and white.
Mark Milliken, Dean of Faculty at the high school, provided his administrative input to the change, saying, “when I first came [to the high school], there was a lot of competition and antagonism between the classes, and I think that was somewhat enhanced by [class] colors… We wanted to find a way to not only have class identity, but school identity. The new pep rally colors give us a way to honor both.”
Because of these same ideas, seniors will now be wearing red for class color day on Monday, with juniors wearing purple, sophomores wearing green, and freshmen wearing orange. Not unlike years past, the atmosphere for Friday’s rally and its corresponding field day will continue to be more monochromatic. The sophomores and seniors will be wearing blue, and the freshmen and juniors will be wearing white, continuing promote school-wide unity.
Despite this compromise, some students still feel disappointed by the changes. “I do wish that we could’ve gotten to be black [on class color day], just because we had it during our freshmen year and it just seems right…” said senate member Hannah Jane Wilson (‘18).
Wilson is referring to the senate’s originally proposed class colors for Monday, which would have had the seniors wearing black, the juniors wearing red, the sophomores wearing purple, and the freshmen wearing green. These colors would have been more indicative of previous spirit weeks, but were denied by administration.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we can’t have the original spirit day colors,” said Ana Szymanski (‘19). She continued, adding, “the students who are in the school now weren’t in the high school yet when the incidents regarding the colors happened. I think that we deserve a chance to prove ourselves and our maturity, and to be allowed to wear the original colors.”
The school’s student resource officer, Holly Malasky, brought up a new point: the colors may not even be to blame for spirit week’s troubled past. “I don’t necessarily think that the colors have anything to do with the fact that it’s just a week where there’s a lot more freedom and a lot less supervision with different types of activities that go on. I think that kids can take advantage of that and use some of the days that are meant to be fun and less academic for the wrong reasons,” she said.
Despite this possibility, Wilson noted that since the changed occurred, it has been easier to plan spirit week from a senate standpoint. “Spirit week my freshmen year was terrifying. I didn’t know what to do as a senator, and we tried so hard to make sure all the rules were followed… and they weren’t. I think now that we’ve had two spirit weeks since my freshmen [year] fiasco, we’re extremely more well-run and things have gotten more lenient for senate. Which I think is great, given checking with the administration for every single thing was tedious.”
Despite these new changes, Allison Marshall (‘19) voices a popular opinion: that many are still looking forward to next week. “Even though the colors won’t be the same, I’m still excited to join together with my class and have fun.” She continued, adding, “what makes the week so great is that you get to be pretty competitive, all while still joining together as a school. That’s what it’s all about, right?”
Picture Credits: Haley Brown-Bloom
Writer: Devan McClain