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Spirit Week History

Spirit Week has been a tradition at Paly since 1952, when the administration created “Friendship Week” to welcome the students back to school.

Friendship Week included various activities such as skits, fashion shows and a dress-up day.

In 1977, the name “Friendship Week” was officially changed to “Spirit Week.”

According to several Paly graduates who are currently teachers, there have been many changes in Spirit Week throughout the past six decades.

Jason Fung, teacher of 13 years and 1992 Paly graduate, said that one tradition that has been lost is the Homecoming Court.

In the 90s, at the end of Spirit Week, the students went to the Homecoming football game, where Homecoming Court would be announced.

“They used to have Homecoming king and queen for all the classes, and they rode the floats,” Fung said.

Another element that changed overtime is the venue of Spirit Week, which was originally held in an amphitheater where the science building is currently located.

“We used to have this big amphitheater which was perfect for Spirit Week,” Steve Foug, teacher of 13 years and 1991 Paly graduate, said.

In addition, according to Foug, in the 90s, the spirit dances were much less impressive than they are nowadays. The dances were not oriented around the class theme, and there was not as much choreography and synchronization of the dancers.

“The spirit dance is much more elaborate nowadays,” Foug said. “I don’t remember dance teams at all. [It’s] not like the Dancing with the Stars type of thing you guys do now. That’s very elaborate.”

Also, several years ago, each class did pranks during Spirit Week. Rachel Kaci, Paly graduate from 1998 and new teacher at Paly, recalls the prank she and her classmates pulled senior year.

“During Spirit Week our senior year, we put bricks in the entrances to get into the parking lot,” Kaci said. “People were pretty mad, but it was still funny.”

Likewise, Foug remembers several pranks, including one during his senior year when a classmate bought a highway sign with their graduation year on it.

“The California state highway signs are green in white, so someone from our class ordered one that said California Highway 91,” Foug said.

However, one issue with Spirit Week in the 90s was that the football games were immediately after school, so many athletes were not able to participate in the rallies.

“I played football and we had night games, so I was never part of the festivities,” Fung said. “I never really got a chance to be immersed in all the stuff that happens.”

Although not everyone participated in the rallies, each class was able to work together to create a float to be presented on the last day of Spirit Week, a tradition that has been at Paly for many years.

In fact, one of Foug’s best memories of Spirit Week was the float building, where he spent many hours working with his classmates to create a float that would impress the judges.

“I was really into [float building] and I had a great time with that,” Foug said.

However, one of Foug’s regrets is not fully participating in the dressing up during Spirit Week.

“As a student here, I never really bought in 100 percent,” Foug said. “I was only doing it as much as my friends were doing it, and I actually do regret that. If you get 100 percent into it, it’s a lot of fun.”

Although Spirit Week has changed over the years, it still remains one of the greatest memories for many Paly graduates because of the competitiveness and class unity it promotes.

Kaci believes that one of the best parts of Spirit Week is the variety of students who participate in the lunchtime activities.

“I really enjoyed when they got a diverse group of people involved,” Kaci said. “It wasn’t the same football players or cheerleaders, it was a broad range of people joined in.”

Also, to many people’s surprise, the seniors do not always win Spirit Week. In fact, the class of 1984 won Spirit Week sophomore, junior and senior year, a record that has never been beaten. When Kaci was a senior, the sophomore class won Spirit Week. Nonetheless, Kaci and her classmates cherish their memories from their final year at Paly.

“My friends and I have very fond memories, even though we did lose Spirit Week,” Kaci said. “At the time we were mad about it, but now we look back and think it’s funny.”

In addition, according to Foug, Spirit Week is always a great time to get to know more people through the various activities and rallies.

“By the time I was a senior, I saw what [Spirit Week] did,” Foug said. “I was now friends with people I wasn’t before in my senior class.”

Throughout the past six decades, Spirit Week has been a time that unifies each class and brings the school together. It is filled with fun and competitiveness, and for many students, it is the best week of the year.

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