Left: Seniors Henry Gordon, Bradley Brewster and Andrew Cho cheer during the first rally in 90s attire. Top right: Juniors Katie Passarello and Albert Hwang participate in tug-of-war, ultimately placing third, during Salad Dressing day. Bottom right: Students participate in a hamster ball race during Paly’s first ever night rally held on Oct 21.
Palo Alto High School’s Spirit Week came to a close last Friday after several days of tight competition. Featuring two separate streaking incidents, a new scoring system and a night rally, seniors finished the week victorious, with juniors in second, sophomores in third and freshmen in fourth.
Following a slow start, the Class of 2016 quickly pulled ahead on Tuesday to hold a substantial lead over other classes, eventually winning best dressed on four out of five days and claiming first place in six out of ten rally activities by the end of the week. At the after-school rally on Friday, when each class displayed its floats and spirit dances, the seniors took first place in both.
However, as with every Spirit Week, the days did not go by without heavy competition. While the seniors held a comfortable lead throughout most of the week, the Class of 2017 and Class of 2018 were neck and neck, vying for second place. Up until the final after-school rally, the sophomores held second by just 90 points. The juniors went on to win second place for both spirit dance and float, claiming second overall with a lead of 2760 points over the sophomores, who took third and fourth for spirit dance and float, respectively.
Despite the Class of 2018’s third place finish, Sophomore President Jaiveer Sandhu is optimistic about his class’s potential.
“I feel that our improvement from freshman to sophomore year was huge, and that we surprised a lot of people with our success this Spirit Week,” Sandhu said. “[Sophomore Class Vice President] Noga Hurwitz and I were very proud of all the work we put in and the results we had. We were able to stay ahead of the juniors and gave them some tough competition. We are definitely capable of upsetting the Class of 2017, and everyone should watch out for our performance in next year’s Spirit Week.”
Although the Class of 2017 struggled to pull ahead during the week, Junior Class Vice President Natalie Maloney is happy with her grade’s performance and the overall outcome of the week.
“I am so proud to have represented the Class of 2017,” Maloney said. “It was absolutely incredible to watch and be able to lead them. I’m most proud of the fact that they took their spirit up a notch on the last two days when we were losing to sophomores, and that we pulled through to create an amazing float and choreograph a stunning dance. All the participation over the course of this week has helped create strong class unity and pride. Overall, I think this was a successful week for the Class of 2017.”
This year’s Spirit Week introduced a new point system and nighttime rally that contributed to the close race. The scoring system, designed to create larger gaps between class scores, featured a 200 point difference between first and second place for most rally activities. Additionally, float and spirit dance were graded on 1000-point intervals, making them a significant determinant of the week’s results.
The neon-themed night rally, which replaced the big gym advisory rally due to construction, took place on Wednesday night at the football field and included a hamster ball race, performance from varsity dance and new activity “Clean Your Room,” which involved 30 participants from each grade. Competitors threw socks into the quadrants of other grades, with the intent of ending with the least amount of socks in their own quadrant.
At the end of the opening lunch rally on Monday, a male streaker ran across the football field towards Churchill Avenue and escaped in a waiting car. In the midst of the rally on Wednesday night, another male streaker ran across the field between heats of the hamster ball activity, prompting cheering from some students. Assistant Principal of Operations Jerry Berkson expressed disappointment with the incidents.
“We have our eyes out for [streaking] but it’s hard to catch,” Berkson said. “There will be pretty serious consequences, hopefully that will be enough to deter people from doing it.”
Overall, in spite of the streakers, Associated Student Body vice president Anmol Nagar feels this year’s Spirit Week and its modifications were a success.
“This year blew my mind,” Nagar said. “The overwhelmingly positive participation in rallies, in spirit dance and at float building was amazing and I know I speak for many when I say that I made so many new friends from this year’s spirit week. I think that the changes in the point system were helpful. [Spirit commissioners] Cezanne Lane and Reid Walters were very proactive in changing the system a little bit to ensure less conflict between rankings. The night rally was another huge success that I hope we can continue next year, it was also a great way to involve over 100 people in a single rally.”
Even with major changes and suspensive results, hundreds of students enthusiastically displayed their Paly pride, demonstrating the true purpose of Spirit Week.