By KRISHNA KHAWANI & ELAINE ZHOU
The highly anticipated events of Spirit Week came to life with the theme of “Entertainment,” as class councils battled to create the best structures, dances, and shows of class spirit.
The week kicked off on Monday, revolving around the common video game phrase, “Choose Your Character”. Students dressed up in a variety of TV, movie, video game, and even anime characters. Some notable costumes included Naruto, Mario, and the school favorite: Mr. James Garcia. The first lunch-fest of the week was a modified game of Pictionary, where a meter stick was used instead of a normal marker. Each grade sent up teams made up of one “artist” and two guessers, with the seniors eventually winning the game.
Tuesday was “Tropical/Tourist Day,” leaving the school buzzing with Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats. Unlike the other lunch-fests, this one took place in the gym, and classes raced around different obstacles in a tag-team relay. Sophomores finished before all of the other classes. However, cries of injustice from the junior class caused a review of the rules. As it turned out, the juniors were slightly disadvantaged by the setup of one of the relay events and were given the win, inevitably resulting in a roar throughout the gym. Their somewhat excessive cheers and taunts lost them all of their sportsmanship points, but the juniors remained on top for the day.
In line with UHS’ 50th anniversary, Wednesday’s theme was “70’s Day,” with students arriving at 7:30 in the morning for the Spirit Walk. Dressed in bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye, denim, and round sunglasses, the classes stomped their way around campus alongside the marching band. At lunch, the class presidents led the grades through a scavenger hunt including items such as a left airpod, a class syllabus, and boxed water. The final task was to collect the largest stack of UHS ID cards, sending students scrambling around campus to collect them from anyone in their grade. Once again, the junior class swept the competition, winning their second lunch-fest in a row.
The final lunch-fest game came on Thursday, where the classes sold and wore their newly designed class t-shirts, while also staying comfortable in pajamas. A very different lunch-fest from all the other days, Thursday’s game was trivia, where each grade sent up two representatives, each on a separate team. Many of the questions forced competitors to run to their peers for hints, and brought about a sense of camaraderie within the classes. In an attempt to minimize aggression between the grades, every class got the same amount of points, and the event ended with a large school cheer, instead of individual ones. As soon as the bell rang at 2:59 PM, classes began to set up their structures and murals in anticipation of the coming night.
As Thursday afternoon shifted into Thursday night, each class knew the drill for Spirit Night. The hundreds of hours of hard work put into drilling screws, gluing paper mache, cutting Trader Joes’ bags, and painting murals were unveiled during the three hours of Spirit Night. The freshmen, whose theme was sports, lined up their structures and murals at the crossroads, in front of the Big Theater. Although they only had a little over two weeks to prepare, the freshmen were applauded for their mural of the US national team’s victory at the Women’s World Cup this year. The sophomores brought board games to life in the 500s, with a Candyland path leading towards a castle, their main structure, and board game activities such as Jenga, bean bag tosses, and Connect-4. In the 200s, with the juniors’ murals depicting album covers and band groups, visiting students found themselves humming to songs from the 1970s to the 2000s. While students waited for the junior class replica of the Astroworld head (which did not arrive until the end of the night around 8pm), the Yellow Submarine structure provided an iconic place for “insta-worthy” pictures. Seniors also brought nostalgic memories across different decades, decorating the 200s building with a Pacman Arcade Cabinet, Wii Consoles, a Fortnite bus (which they wheeled over to campus from a workhouse after school), and detailed murals of video game characters. In addition to their bright and colorful designs, the seniors sold “Slurp Juice” – a healing item in Fortnite Battle Royale – to boost spirit and add to the livelihood of the 200s. Both of the designated areas for juniors and seniors thrived with live music and crowds of people roaring and singing along, a warm-up to hype everyone up for the spirit chants at the end of the night. Heaps of students hurried to steps of the Big Theater, ready to scream for their class. Each class chanted as loud as they could for the last minutes of Spirit Night.
Friday marked the end of Spirit Week as well as Trojan Army day, sending a sea of blue through the campus. The day was accompanied by the homecoming pep rally, which consisted of performances from the UHS Pep Squad, class councils, and homecoming court nominees. Directly after school, classes raced to tear down their structures and clean up the school, attempting to gain a few extra points before Spirit Week came to a close. Students returned to school in the evening, and then made their way down to the stadium for the homecoming football game.
The homecoming game against Segerstrom started at 7:00 PM, with students pouring into the stands and preparing for spirit festivities half an hour earlier. Alumni from the 70s through the 90s attended the 50th anniversary homecoming game, displaying as much spirit as the chanting students on the bleachers. Despite the 0-57 loss that the Trojans faced, spirits were lifted when Spirit Week results and Homecoming Queen and King were announced. When the halftime whistle blew and the football players stepped off the field, the class councils hustled to the field for the last stretch of Spirit Week. The council dances performed at the pep assembly earlier that day were performed again: freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. But, Spirit Week did not end just yet.
There was a momentary pause in anticipation when the homecoming court nominees made their way down to the field. The homecoming princes were dressed in matching tuxedos with a gold lining to honor the 50th anniversary of UHS, while the homecoming princesses wore individualized dresses of their own style. One after the other, accompanied by a guardian, each nominee walked with a smile on their face toward the homecoming float. Those happy smiles still remained when senior Clare Jun was crowned Homecoming Queen, and senior Bi Tran was crowned Homecoming King.
Later on that night, seniors were announced the winners of Spirit Week, juniors second place, sophomores third, and freshmen fourth. The night ended in joyful and sad tears from the seniors, as the release of the results marked their last, and possibly most memorable, Spirit Week.