Get ready to see crazy colors, fashion disasters, people from all decades, and maybe even some aliens! Spirit Week is back after a two year break and here is how Oyster River High School plans to celebrate.
Many rumors have been circulating about how Spirit Week will look and what the week will consist of. The anticipated traditions of Mr. Bobcat, the Hypnotist Show, and the Pep Rally will be back after not happening since 2019. However, they may look a bit different this year. Planning these events has been more difficult with the addition of COVID-19 protocols, but student leadership and administration have been collaborating to make Spirit Week as fun as it has been in years past.
The daily themes for this week start with Monday’s “class color day,” where seniors will wear red, juniors wear purple, sophomores wear green, and freshmen wear orange. Tuesday’s theme will be “fashion disaster day,” followed by “wild west Wednesday” with cowboys versus aliens. Thursday will be “decades day,” where seniors will dress from the 80’s, juniors from the 70’s, sophomores from the 60’s, and freshmen from the 50’s. Then the week will end with bobcat colors on Friday for the Pep Rally where freshmen and juniors will wear all white and sophomores and seniors will wear all blue.
Senior and junior student governments and S.A.L.T. (Student-Athlete Leadership Team) have been responsible for most of the Spirit Week planning process. Senior Class Senator Charlotte Merritt (‘22) said, “in other years I kind of just watched Spirit Week happen… but a lot of planning goes into it.”
The new principal at ORHS, Rebecca Noe, has also been helping with the planning process. She said, “what I’ve told the seniors who are doing the finishing planning is: ‘you guys plan what you want done, and leadership, meaning the administration team, can plan the logistics of how we move the student body around [to make sure] we follow as many COVID-19 protocols as we can.’”
On Tuesday night, the Hypnotist Show will be taking place. According to Junior Class President, Kelly Zhang (‘23), the event will be in the auditorium because of scheduling conflicts with sports practices and games. She said, “we know that the hypnotist is something that Oyster River students really love, so we want to keep that tradition.”
In normal years, the Hypnotist Show and Mr. Bobcat would be in the auditorium. However, “we do have limited seating because of COVID-19 so you can only fit 174 people in the auditorium 3 feet apart,” said Noe.
Zhang also said, “the Hypnotist Show has never pre-sold tickets. You kind of just show up at the door and you know how much it is.” That has made the planning a bit more complicated than normal.
COVID-19 concerns are not the only issue surrounding Mr. Bobcat. Many rumors have been circulating about certain acts in Mr. Bobcat being removed. Senior Class President KK Kalinowski (‘22) addressed this, stating that “I think a lot of faculty and some students felt a little bit uncomfortable about how Mr. Bobcat semi-sexualizes the guys for the swimsuit and the workout events, so we’re trying to think of other fun alternatives that we could do.” It has been confirmed by both Kalinowski and Merritt that the swimsuit act has been removed in this year’s event.
As far as the future of Mr. Bobcat goes, Noe said, “to me that depends on student interest… If the school community wants an event, students are willing to put in the work to organize it, and it is school appropriate, we try to make it happen.”
Even with new changes, everyone is trying to make Spirit Week the best it can be. The school that Noe previously worked at also had a Spirit Week. She is in full-support of it and said, “building up that spirit, or taking [almost] a whole day of teaching away to do something fun with the school is good.”
The Pep Rally has been moved outside since it is during school hours. Kalinowski said, “we can’t fit everyone socially distanced in the gym, so we’re taking it outside. That also means changes to a couple of the games, but generally, besides the fact that we’re moving it outside, there’s a lot of parts of the Pep Rally that we want to keep the same.”
This year, Spirit Week will also be building excitement towards a new event over the weekend. September 24-25th will be the Oyster River September Soccer Saturday event. It is the 60th reunion of the soccer program at OR and will be a celebratory weekend of soccer as well as a fundraiser. For more information, visit the September Soccer Saturday official Ticket Leap page or Laura Slama’s article “September Soccer Saturday- Save the Date!”
Looking towards the week as a whole, Merrit said, “I’m hoping it looks similar to the ones that I saw my freshman and sophomore year, with the games and people literally going all out. If anything, I’m hoping it is more spirited than it has been in any other years than I’ve seen because we’re all sort of pining for that school-community and the happiness that comes from Spirit Week.”
Even with all of the changes being implemented this year, Zhang said, “I think I speak for all of our student leaders that we’re really trying to make this Spirit Week special… it’s going to be different from what people normally expect, but we’re trying to still make it fun and keep traditions alive.”
Photo Credits: Sophia Isaak