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Jensen coordinates spirit week

Spirit Commissioner Hannah Jensen plans events, grade-level games, rallies
Alex Isayama
Spirit Commissioner Hannah Jensen speaks into a microphone addressing a crowd of Paly students. “Everyone had a lot of fun, and especially being a senior and being more involved with the senior class, everyone was just really happy to be around each other,” Jensen said.

An array of students clad in bright colors throw up a collective roar as senior and Spirit Commissioner Hannah Jensen steps into the center of the field, swinging her megaphone and yelling “can I get a skoooooo vikes?”

Although it was Jensen’s first time running Spirit Week, she said the planning and execution went smoothly.

“Everyone had a lot of fun, and especially being a senior and being more involved with the senior class, everyone was just really happy to be around each other,” Jensen said. “Seeing the enthusiasm was nice.” 

Jensen said she primarily focused on planning out the daily rallies, from the games and activities that students would participate in, to the point systems. 

As the leader of each Spirit Rally, Jensen said she often felt apprehensive beforehand. However, the overwhelming support from her peers and the crowd provided ample motivation.

“I’m nervous –– what if I mess up on the speaker, what if I stutter, what if no one cheers,” Jensen said. “But in the moment, all the tiredness (and) worries go away when you see how encouraging the crowd is. You have your teachers and all of your ASB officers. Just as soon as you’re on the field, the vibes are right.”

Since Jensen has never held a position in ASB before this year, she said she did not realize how much extra work goes into maintaining order during the rallies. 

“You gain a lot of perspective,” Jensen said. “Being down at the field and watching it all happen, there’s so much behind the scenes (and) so many little things.”

Jensen also said there could have been small improvements to mitigate some of the chaos during the spirit week games.

“The planning for  point systems could have been a bit better,” Jensen said. “Also elaborations on the rules of the games, because some people will break the rules, and I can’t really deduct (points). It’s so hectic, paying attention to each individual class and then the crowd.”

Jensen said she continuously improved from rally to rally, learning how to best captivate the crowd while explaining necessary instructions.

“I feel like during some of the first rallies (there) was an alteration for me not being very concise with my words, and (being) loud so people can hear them and catch on,” Jensen said. “It’s important to be very punctual as well.”

Jensen said she initially ran for spirit week commissioner without realizing the magnitude of work it demanded, but was able to succeed due to the assistance of the rest of ASB.

“I didn’t really understand how (ASB) works before going in, I thought, ‘I love spirit. Let’s do this,’” Jensen said. “(There) is a really big learning curve, and everyone has been really patient and very helpful. I was worried about being judged, but I don’t really feel that sense. People really wish you the best in ASB, and I think I couldn’t have done it without the help that I got.”

To plan for spirit week, Jensen said she spent countless hours researching games, considering how plausible they would be to execute.

“As soon as school started, I had already looked over master schedules from last year (and) legacy letters,” Jensen said. “We chose out like a really long list of games when the summer started, just so we could have something to bounce off of when school started.” 

Despite the abundance of planning, Jensen said she had a hard time dealing with both the responsibilities of spirit week commissioner and her duties as a student during spirit week.

“I felt internally that I was balancing the stress of the whole school (and) how they felt the entire week. That’s a lot of weight to have on you,” Jensen said. “And then I was cramming for tests. I thought having spirit week was such a big thing absorbing my life at the moment, that academics could wait. And then at night, I would freak out (because) now that I’m done with ASB stuff, I have to do school stuff and (I was) mentally drained.

Regardless of these shortcomings, Jensen said recognition for her efforts provided all the validation needed.

“It feels really nice to know that people acknowledge the hard work that is being put into spirit week,” Jensen said. “I think a lot of the time people disregard stuff that happens, and only acknowledge the bad. But it’s really refreshing to see how people were very encouraging this year. I think what struck me the most was the crowd response when you’re hype, and you get them to hype, it’s just it’s such a nice energy.”

Looking to the future, Jensen said she wants to reintroduce a second spirit week during the spring, something that occurred last year, but lacked attendance because it wasn’t publicized well. 

“Before the spring break, I hope to have a spirit week with (better) timing because I know that’s what confused grades last year,” Jensen said. “Better publicity, better themes, maybe more interactive games that are simple and like relay races (or) a sack race, or something just to get people’s spirits up. It’s just a good mental break to get you in the mood for spring break.” 

Jensen said she had three main points of advice for next year’s Spirit Week Commissioner.

“Show your own personality. Don’t be who they want you to be. Be loud. Be happy. Be encouraging and be personal with the crowd,” Jensen said. “Definitely try to have a set schedule for yourself, (and) follow that, so you have something to lean on. Keep an open mind. Things are going to change in a flash of a minute, and the ability for you to compromise with yourself and others is so crucial.”

Overall, Jensen said she had a great time during spirit week, persevering through many ups and downs.

“School spirit is so important (in) making a good high school experience,” Jensen said. “I really wanted to make spirit week something that’s a highlight of people’s school years because that’s what made such a good impression on me last year to apply for this position in the first place.”

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Dhruv Shetty
Dhruv Shetty, Editor-in-Chief
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