From the Editors: Spirit Week finds the right THHS spirit

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The junior hall entrance. Photo </a><figcaption id=The junior hall entrance. Photo by Sharon Chin.

Harrisites this year had as spirited a Spirit Week as any other. The SU’s Battle of the Grades charitable spin, while adding to the festivities, offered far more than just another fun thing to do in between the hectic excitement of hall decorating and the slow walk down Founder’s Day memory lane.

The nature of Spirit Week largely stayed intact, except for a twist: participation was incentivized. Through a Hogwarts-esque points system, each person’s participation in Spirit Week contributed towards the common goal of grade pride and collective bragging rights. Sure, not everyone donned their grade apparel and bedheads for those reasons, but for those who needed a reason, the earning of points was reason enough.

This year’s Battle of the Grades allowed for a separate hall decorating winner and an overall Spirit Week winner (the grade that earned the most points). With this, the juniors—who creatively integrated string lights into their white-papered wonderland on the fourth floor—could celebrate their hall decorating victory with ease; the seniors still won the overall battle, claiming a triumph for themselves before they graduate.

Donating money to select charities made up a significant part of how each grade earned points. It would have been satisfactory if the main goal had been for each grade to raise the most money in their respective buckets, but the small twist of disproportionate point-to-money values changed the playing field. In a slightly confusing manner, students were encouraged to drop change in their own charity buckets, and slide bills through other grades’ buckets to decrease their points. The twist allowed for more money to pass through more buckets, and the charities received the direct benefit of competitive tactics to ‘sabotage’ each other. Of course, the sabotage necessitated strategic teamwork among grades, making the point of the week—bonding, or at least amiably arguing with classmates—more apparent than in the past.

If Spirit Week 2013 did achieve anything, it rekindled students’ purpose for participating in it.  There was something truly nice about the announcement of the victors after the week’s end. Though the juniors appeared to win, they lost the overall Battle by raising more money for a cause. This showed that our spirit is located somewhere beyond simply seeking victory, as our slightly awkward pep rallies can attest. Rather, the true spirit of a Townsend Harris Spirit Week belongs in serving our communities.  The SU’s charity spin demonstrated that truth, and we commend its addition.