Spirit Week 2020: Scrambled Cinema

Sophomore boys compete against their freshman counterparts in Tug of War on the first day of Spirit Week 2020. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine ('20)

Middle and high school students are starting the new year with Spirit Week. This year’s theme has an unusual twist. Titled “Scrambled Cinema,” the theme requires each grade to do a mash-up of a popular movie with a particular decade. This year’s dress up days also features two new themes: Future Day is on Monday and Children’s Story Day is on Tuesday.

Student council Treasurer Aaron Omon said, “It will be very entertaining to see what the Pepper Squads come up with for their plays.” Alyssa Mayeshiro, senior class president, likes the new twist on the theme. The senior class’s theme is High School Musical in the 80s. “I really like our theme because the 80s is full of color, music, and fun, which makes it the perfect decade to recreate a teenage musical.” Other than the theme itself, students are generally excited for the week’s activities. Sophomore Caetlin Dias looks forward to watching all the Pepper Squad performances and also is excited to watch the seventh graders cheer because this is their first year competing in Spirit Week.

However, even though Spirit Week is characterized by class spirit and intense intramural competition, there are a number of students who feel ambivalent toward the week. Senior Lance Tasaka, who has dutifully participated in dress-up and class cheers over the years, feels that Spirit Week is a “waste of time” and leads to unhealthy dynamics between students. He explained, “I think that many people get a bit too emotional and it makes the environment for the people who don’t like Spirit Week really uncomfortable.” Although the week is a time for class unity and friendly competition between grade levels, it often has the opposite effect as competition and differing attitudes lead to conflict. Tasaka said, “Everyone can feel the tension created by the people who are hell-bent on winning.” His least favorite events are cheers and dress up days because he feels “they are the source of most of the toxicity when it comes to Spirit Week.”

English teacher Alexandra Taylor believes that Spirit Week is a rite of passage at HBA and an important event for the school. “There needs to be some element of camaraderie and having fun, otherwise when you look back there’s nothing pleasant about the memories.” However Taylor does see how it can become a negative experience when students mainly focus on winning rather than enjoying the moment. Taylor encourages students to participate and feels that those who aren’t as enthusiastic should still do the bare minimum for the sake of their class.

Senior Kaycee Nakashima, who is on the Cheer Committee for her class, considers herself a Spirit Week enthusiast. She enjoys seeing classes come together to accomplish a shared goal. She points out that student leaders don’t have it easy when trying to lead their class through Spirit Week. “It is disappointing when students complain… because a lot of work goes into the Pepper Squad, cheers, all of the committees and a lot of students don’t realize that.” Nakashima suggests that those who aren’t enthusiastic about Spirit Week should still try to make the most of it because it is a unique high school experience.

Here are the theme assignments for each grade:

Seniors: High School Musical in the 80s
Juniors: Maze Runner in the 70s
Sophomores: Indiana Jones in the 60s
Freshman: Fast and Furious in Medieval Times
Eighth Grade: Avengers in the 90s
Seventh Grade: Jurassic World in the 20s

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