By DANIELLE BANG and ANEESAH AKBAR
UHS’s annual Spirit Week, hosted by the UHS Associated Student Body (ASB), was held from Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 2. This year’s theme was International Cities, with the senior class representing Paris, junior class Beijing, sophomore class London and freshman class Rio de Janeiro.
During this week of celebration and competition, UHS class councils worked together with the rest of the student body to gain points for their class through lunchfests, class dances, class cheers, Spirit Night displays and more to win Spirit Week. The competition was intense as the seniors’ need to win during their last year at UHS was challenged by the energy and enthusiasm of the other classes.
Freshmen (Class of 2019): Rio de Janeiro
For the freshmen, who finished in fourth place, Spirit Week was a new experience that introduced them to the passion and dedication of UHS students. Darya Ashtiani (Fr.) said, “This is my first time experiencing Spirit Week. It’s really fun and I love how teachers don’t give out homework.”
The Class of 2019 exploded with class cheers as freshmen excitedly shook the yellow fences in a display of their school spirit. As Paige Saengsouvanna (Fr.) said, “Lunchfests help create a more active and spirited atmosphere than middle school.”
The freshmen did not have as much time as the other classes to bring their city to life. Despite lacking the amount of time all other classes had, however, they worked tirelessly to recreate Rio de Janeiro. The main focus of the workhouses was building a life-like replica of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. Aden Alemayhu (Fr.) said, “From the minute we got started, it was a blast. It may have been hard work, but seeing the finished product of everything made it worthwhile.” Kelly Chong (Fr.) agreed, noting that “it was a lot of hard work, and we sometimes didn’t get along, but it was a great experience working with all my council members and hopefully next year we won’t be as stressed out.”
The freshmen decorated the Big Theater. At the center stood a smaller version of Christ the Redeemer, stretching his arms out in greeting of the Spirit Night participants. A huge soccer ball trophy representing the 2014 World Cup stood at one side, and the shimmering lighting enhanced the atmosphere. The murals hanging on the walls parallel to the theater’s entrance further captured the alluring city of Rio. Sarah Sharifi (Fr.) said, “Having all my council members by my side setting up for Spirit Night was phenomenal. The atmosphere was something I could never forget. Although it was tough, spirit night was one of the best nights of my life.” The freshmen set the bar high for next year’s newcomers with their impressive display.
Sophomores (Class of 2018): London
The sophomores were very spirited, finishing in third place. At the beginning of the week, Class President Michael Wu (So.) said, “I’m feeling really hyped. We put in a lot of really hard work and we’ve had a lot of great class participation so I’m excited to see what we can do this year.” His excitement foreshadowed the tremendous amount of spirit the sophomores displayed for the rest of the week.
The sophomores erupted in applause as the music stopped and one of their own claimed the last seat in Monday’s lunchfest musical chairs game. The Class of 2018 surprised everyone by winning the lunchfests on both Monday and Tuesday, earning many spirit points as a result. Mika Motoshige (So.) said, “I like how the lunchfests make people more excited about Spirit Week, and how dressing up also helps.”
Sophomore council worked hard for weeks to create all the elements involved in bringing London to life. Mitchell Rogers (So.) said, “Opening my house to class council has truly made for an incredible experience. It was super neat to spend time with everyone while building creative, innovative pieces of art.”
The extensive time and effort put in by the sophomores during workhouses was evident in their authentic representation of London’s illustrious Big Ben, telephone booths and other attractions.
Just behind the Big Theater stood two tall white towers at the entrance to the 500s. Fog, representing steam, rose from an enormous teacup which stood at the end of a maze of beautiful scenes from London. Behind the trail rose the Big Ben, the London Eye, a telephone booth, a car with the driver’s seat on the right and more. A life-sized bookshelf displayed the classic novels produced by British novelists made famous around the world. Several hanging British flags added authenticity to the sophomores’ miniature London.
Spirit Night’s participation was not just limited to class council members. Laurel Giblin (So.) said, “I helped put up the murals. Spirit Night was nice because everyone was working towards one thing and there was a sense of community. It was cool to watch the whole process happen.” The hard work of sophomores impressed everyone this year.
Juniors (Class of 2017): Beijing
The junior class earned an overall class performance of second place. Class President Vicki Chen (Jr.) said, “Spirit Week was tiring and time consuming, but it was so worth it to see everything come together on Spirit Night. I’m so proud of my class.”
The junior council’s dance at the homecoming game on Friday especially stood out with a perfectly timed firework going off at a particularly exciting beat drop.
Although the juniors started off Spirit Week with the least participation in lunchfests on Monday, they made an immense comeback by the middle of the week, with plenty of representation in the lunchfest games. Ava Soltani (Jr.) said, “It was great seeing all of the classes coming together. Everyone was extremely into it!”
Junior council members worked diligently to create Beijing, with daily workhouses since Spirit Week themes were announced in August. They spent hours recreating a Chinese temple, life-sized pandas and a giant bowl filled with realistic dumplings. Vani Dewan (Jr.), who hosted a mural workhouse, said, “It’s all been super fun! I love my council members, and we’ve been working for so long, and as a result everything looked awesome. All I wish is for all the stuff to be up a bit longer.”
The juniors hung dozens of bright red and gold lanterns along the back entrance of the 200s, transforming the space into a scene from Beijing. They teamed up with the Robotics Club to construct a magnificent mobile red dragon, which slithered as if alive. At the center of the display sat a huge bowl of dumplings overflowing with fog, steamed and ready to eat, and a beautifully decorated temple of shimmering gold and vibrant red that students readily entered. The intricate emperor’s crown and Olympic rings made from cans were equally astonishing, and the two adorable paper-mache panda bears charmed everyone. The juniors completed their display with a large banner signed by all the junior class council members, like artists signing their artwork.
Gauvri Nathwani (Jr.) said, “It was awesome to basically create a city as a team and see all our visions come to life. Setting up was the best part because all the hours we spent paid off when we got to see them put up and admired by everyone.” Complete with a street stand selling boba, the juniors’ Beijing display added a unique touch to Spirit Night.
Seniors (Class of 2016): Paris
The seniors surprised everyone with a rough start. Winning no games on the first lunchfest and only one on the second, seniors fell second to the sophomores on the first two days. Tanya Mozafari (Sr.), who participated in the first game of Musical Chairs, said, “It was definitely one of the most barbaric experiences of my entire life. After my fellow senior, Justin Jung (Sr.), got out the first round, I knew it was all up to me. But as the song stopped and I went to sit down, I fatty fell to the floor so hard. But if it counts for anything, my shoes were heeled, so I should get some credit for looking fabulous.” Despite their initial paltry numbers, seniors slowly worked their way up the ranking, ending in first place on Wednesday’s last lunchfest.
Seniors categorized workhouses in structures and murals. The most prominent structures workhouse housed the 24-foot-tall Eiffel Tower, which was planned and built from scratch by Joberto Lee (Sr.), Emaan Hariri (Sr.) and Erik Mumm (Sr.) in the summer, in addition to the Arc de Triomphe. Many mural workhouses had also begun in the summer when council members all gathered together and cut hundreds of Trader Joe’s bags to fit the dimensions of a locker. The senior council received a lot of outside help in completing their structures and murals. Class President Noah Obstfeld (Sr.) said, “Even though students are notorious for slacking off their senior year, I was very impressed with the amount of non-council members that dedicated countless hours to the assurance of our win. Shoutout to Trevor Adams (Sr.), Maggie Kuo (Sr.) and Beth Bushey (Sr.)!”
Although the 300s building is at the back of the school, the seniors made it one of the liveliest spots on campus. At the entrance stood the iconic Arc de Triomphe, its tall canvas towers replicating the frieze on the actual structure. A road stretched from the entrance and across the quad. It first led to the Pont des Arts bridge, which evoked the significant vibe of romanticism crucial to Paris, with hundreds of small wooden locks hanging on the rails for the students to write their initials on. At the center of the quad stood the colossal Eiffel Tower, which took hours to transport and construct. The most impressive of the seniors’ structures, the tower was the product of months’ worth of sketching, planning, building and painting. A realistic looking guillotine, coupled with Boyang Sun (Sr.) dressed as the Grim Reaper, added a unique twist to the City of Love. At the end of the journey through Paris was a glowing replica of the Louvre pyramid, which sat fittingly in front of a museum scene featuring three master copies of iconic artworks.
The seniors’ hard work led to a much-anticipated victory. The Class of 2016 had been vying to win Spirit Night last year, but fell short. Their victory this year felt “fulfilling,” “exhilarating” and “relieving,” as described by Melissa Lee (Sr.), Noah Obstfeld (Sr.), and Nayana Bhatnagar (Sr.), respectively.
Spirit Week drew to a close with a victory over Sage Hill in Friday’s Homecoming game, where Erik Mumm (Sr.) and Sonia Lin (Sr.) were crowned Homecoming King and Queen, and Saturday’s Homecoming Dance. Without the hard work of the UHS ASB, class councils and student volunteers, Spirit Week 2015 would not have been possible.