Where’s the Spirit in Spirit Week?
April 29, 2021
The week of Apr. 19, AHN celebrated its second Spirit Week of the year. The dress down themes included “Champa Bay,” “Music Genre Day,” “Gasparilla,” “Earth Day,” and “Advisory Wars.” Students were encouraged to dress down in school-and-theme-appropriate clothing each day of the week, meaning Tampa sports team merchandise on “Champa Bay” day, blue and green themed outfits on Earth Day, and the like. But as the week progressed, one thing was made clear: many people decided to just wear their uniforms.
However, from my perspective, every morning of Spirit Week, I’d get out of bed excited to wear each new outfit to school, but by the time I’d get to the carline, I noticed how few people were dressed up. And, on top of that, I worried that I would get in trouble for what in particular I was wearing. I have a fashion sense one can only describe as “eccentric” or “extra.” And the few students who wore something different were wearing the very typical Lululemon leggings that define teen fashion sense, so I stuck out like a sore thumb in my 80’s mom jeans, my pirate blouse, my Kurt Cobain green cardigan, and, my crowning achievement, the black jean skirt.
There are a number of different reasons why people may or may not want to dress up. I’ve heard people say anything ranging from “any excuse to get out of uniform” to “I don’t own any of the stuff they wanted us to wear. Why bother buying something I’m only going to wear once?”
Giuliana Seise (‘24) said, “When I was told the prompts for Spirit Week, I was excited and found anything around my house I could use to dress up. It was really fun waking up and seeing what I could do. I really liked dressing up and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”
AHN’s Golden Girls club organized the event and planned the themes for the week. Member Sabrina Pedregal (‘22) said, “I mean, we all knew this year’s Spirit Week was going to look a lot different due to COVID, but we had hoped for a lot more participation from the students because we haven’t been able to do many activities. Our club had tried our best to make this week like year’s past, but with a lack of games or activities because of social distancing the spirit and participation was sadly lacking. Planning the attire and guidelines was mostly done by in-club voting, and after seeing reactions to the various themes this year, in the future we will try to get more student feedback through our Instagram and what they would like to see.”
High schools all over the country celebrate Spirit Week in this way or a similar way, some popular categories being “Twin Day”, “Tie Dye Day”, “Meme Day”…the list goes on. Spirit Week was meant to be a day of school spirit, typically in support of the school’s football team, but because of COVID, Spirit Week simply is just a week to dress up and have fun.
English Teacher Sara Moses said, “As a teacher, it’s interesting to me to see that the students are not as involved in Spirit Week. When I was in high school, everybody went all out and there was a big competition between grade levels.”
Even though Academy students are great at showering one another with accolades, Spirit Week proved that we do so even more when we don’t all have to wear the same uniform. I’m proud to say that I received so many compliments on my outfits, gave a lot of compliments on other people’s outfits, and watched a lot of people get and give compliments on each other’s outfits.
If you’re really not into school spirit, Spirit Week can be an excellent way to just relax and enjoy planning cohesive outfits for the week. While planning outfits can be stressful for some people, others don’t find it stressful at all, and the insane few, myself included, even enjoy the panic of picking out an outfit last-minute. Spirit Week, although guided, makes the uniform policy way more lenient, and even if you didn’t own what the prompt specified, you could still get away with wearing a different t-shirt, or different socks or shoes. But Spirit Week is about being involved in your school community, and bonding with your classmates through a mutual activity.