Eye of the Tiger

Spirits days counterintuitive by lack of inclusivity

DANIELLE BENNETT

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For the sake of full disclosure, I might not be the most outwardly spirited person at this school. While my more meticulous friends would religiously don attire for each spirit day, I spent my morning snoozing my alarm clock until I had to make a dash to school. Still, I appreciate spirit weeks as a nice change of pace, and respect the dedication of people who go all-out with their spirit.

I also respect the effort to have ingenuity in the different spirit days – it’s impossible to find something appealing to everyone, better yet something they have not seen before.

That being said, when the days are checked and approved, in addition to originality, it is important to consider the implications the themes hold for our school and their potential impact on the school day. Certain days set up for this next session – a rich-out day for Thursday, and toga day for Friday – do not lend themselves neither toward inclusiveness, nor order.

The rich-out day is reminiscent of an event by the same name held by students at Granite Bay. For a football game against Del Oro, a group of students chose to dress in expensive brands, and wore tuxedos or dresses and fur, to perpetuate the stereotype that people at Granite Bay are more financially well-off than other areas.

The response to the event was largely critical, arguing that it did not represent the entirety of Granite Bay students, both in values and in their wealth.

Unlike Granite Bay, RHS students do not face that stereotype –  and while there are students who are from more well-to-do families, there are those who struggle. When forming a spirit day, we need to respect our entire student population. Those without as fortunate of circumstances are not likely to have spent their money on an overly expensive brand, and even those who could might not necessarily want to.

School spirit is an essentially inclusive concept. Participating can be as simple as putting on something that’s a specific color, and gets about as complicated as buying some cheap supplies at Dollar Tree. This simplicity allows everyone to join in, and even at times of competition, like the Clash of Classes days, people can bond with those in their grade level, trying to be the most involved.

The rich-out day, however, lacks this inclusive quality. Anyone without the means or drive to purchase some Gucci articles is already separated from those who do. Even with more affordable options, like sunglasses or other faux-fancy items, the term “rich-out” indicates a competition that, rather than involving the cooperation of an entire class, will limit us to an every-man-for-himself style contest.

We do not value or bond with each other because of the amount of money we have; it does not reflect our interests or personalities. It will separate us rather than bringing us together, which loses the purpose of spirit week.

And, while I love a nice toga as much as the next person, somehow I worry that high schoolers might not have the responsibility to handle that day without breaking school rules. There is always someone who will take a mile for every inch you give them.

To live up to a dress code that requires us to avoid clothes that provide a  “distraction” in class, and are not “revealing” while still wearing a toga is quite a feat, and I applaud those who can manage. However, with estimated lows of 46 and highs of 66 degrees Fahrenheit, I’m not so sure I’m brave enough (and, let’s face it, crafty enough) to put together an ensemble resembling a toga. We Californians are not known for our resistance the cold.

The toga theme lacks that simplicity necessary for spirit week – students could easily take it to far, or might refrain from participating because they’re unsure how to make it school appropriate. We should aim to hold inventive spirit days, but it is not worth the sacrifice if the days exclude students or disrupt learning.

 

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