It’s almost that time of year where, for a week, classes become closer and inter-class rivalries become stronger. We all know this time as Spirit Week. With the class of 2016 winning second place and beating the class of 2015 last year, tensions are high this year with first place at stake. This brings up the question, should Spirit Week have a senior bias? Absolutely not.
There is no doubt that going into Spirit Week, most students assume that seniors prevail. Nonetheless, seniors should have to win Spirit Week on behalf of their own effort, without the help of the Associated Student Body (ASB) giving them extra points simply because it is their last year as Palo Alto High School students. There has been much controversy concerning this policy for the past few years.
During the 2011 Spirit Week, the sophomores were ahead of the seniors and could nearly taste victory. However, in the last minute, ASB gave each class “unity points,” which put the class of 2012 in the lead and the class of 2014 in third place.
“Seniors [class of 2012] came into ASB and said, ‘Hey we think we should win still,’” student activities director Matt Hall said. “The rest of ASB said, ‘Well yeah, it’s kinda a tradition, seniors always win,’ so they voted to have a new category adding to the scoring.”
This caused rancor throughout campus, and left a bitter taste for the class of 2014, who had worked hard all of Spirit Week just for seniors to get unearned points purely on the basis of seniority. In the succeeding years ASB has worked to make Spirit Week unbiased.
“The next year , when Jessica [Tam] was ASB president and Michael Wang was senior class president they said, ‘You know what, we’re gonna do this right. We’re gonna do it clean and transparent and above the board and whoever wins, wins,’” Hall said.
A senior-biased Spirit Week only positively affects the senior class, and even these “benefits” are debatable. Other grades feel like there is no point in putting effort into Spirit Week if a senior win is guaranteed. What makes students fall in love with Spirit Week is that it is a battle to determine which is the better, stronger, most unified class. If juniors know that there is no way they could place first, they’ll put in minimal effort. Furthermore, upperclassmen’s attitude towards Spirit Week influences how underclassmen act. If sophomores and freshmen see a lack of enthusiasm in the older grades, it will cause a domino effect.
All classes work hard during Spirit Week and deserve to have the same chance of winning as the senior class. Part of the reason that underclassmen enjoy Spirit Week so much is that they have the hope to beat the grades above them. Seniors naturally have advantages going into Spirit Week. For example, they have experience participating in Spirit Week. They have learned about which cheers work well, what makes a good spirit dance and what a good float looks like. Plus, many would agree that they have the best themes. They have been able to see what has made other classes successful and can apply that to their own class, as well as avoid mistakes that have made others unsuccessful.
Seniors should be motivated to win considering that this is their last time participating in Spirit Week. They have one last chance to show their greatness in Paly’s fondest tradition, so they ought to give it all they’ve got in order to win. They should want to have the craziest cheers, the most outrageous outfits, the best float, an amazing dance and more spirit than all the other grades combined. If the seniors do not try at all and don’t demonstrate good sportsmanship, they deserve to lose. It’s called Spirit Week for a reason; the grade with the most spirit deserves to win.
When a class wins Spirit Week they should win because they deserved it, regardless of what grade they’re in. If a class wins by their own merit, victory will taste that much sweeter because it will have been achieved through hard work. With that said and Spirit Week just a couple weeks away, let the best class win.