SPIRIT WEEK - DINNER DEBRIEF
It struck me shortly into the academic year that our senior students were the only students who had experienced a traditional Chapel prior to this year. More than that, however, the members of the class of 2023 – the class my son Nathan is in – are the last students on campus to fully experience a normal beginning to a school year, have a typical fall complement of sports and extracurricular activities, and the last class to celebrate a traditional LI / Spirit Week without modification. While the students in the class of 2023 are getting the hang of daily in-person Chapel, I was curious to see whether they would remember their 9th-grade experiences during Spirit Week in 2019 and rally together for this year’s Spirit Week events. My younger son, Isaac, a member of the class of 2026, and his classmates, as well as the students in the sophomore and junior classes, would be looking to the class of 2023 to see how it was done (and perhaps do it even better)!
As both Isaac and Nathan race on the Hilltopper XC team, their respective weeks were plenty busy in preparing for the Academy-hosted NVAC conference championships, but like many students, the boys enjoyed collaborating with their classmates in the week’s community events. On Sunday evening, after a week in which our paths only fleetingly crossed, we were finally able to debrief the happenings of Spirit Week over Sunday evening dinner.
Nathan dived into as many activities as he possibly could, taking part in building the hallway and float and also having a role in the skit. After racing on Saturday morning, he attended “The Game” and had a great time cheering with his closest friends, enveloped by his classmates. After 2 years of mourning the loss of experiences he wouldn’t get back, Nathan was ultimately grateful to have participated in a week so steeped in tradition.
Like Nathan, Isaac threw himself into Spirit Week as well. Isaac had a great time working on 2026’s hallway with his classmates (the event the 9th graders would end up winning in the spirit week competition), and he noted that he was pleasantly surprised that so many of his classmates joined in. Isaac would go on to say that, while the events themselves could be viewed as a bit arbitrary, it was really enjoyable to come together with a common purpose, produce something tangible with their creative talents, and ultimately strengthen their bonds as a class.
At the post-game dance on Saturday night, the student body found out that the juniors – the class of 2024 – took home the spirit award for the week. Both Isaac and Nathan were disappointed about this result; however, they also both noted that Spirit Week is far more than the results of the inter-class competition. In the end, St. Johnsbury Academy’s Spirit Week is all about forging new and strengthening established relationships with those in our community. Spirit Week provides opportunities to gather, enjoy friends and make memories together as Hilltoppers.