Leadership aims to make up for loss of in-person spirit events

October 22, 2020 — by Jason Cheng and Vinay Gollamudi
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Freshman Scotty Rich records a video for his class’s lip dub

In a normal school year, students could be found in the quad, participating in Homecoming dances during September. This year, however, students are forced to adapt to remote school spirit activities. Although the same spirit doesn't persist in online learning, the members of the Leadership class are doing their best to emulate an in-person experience.

During remote learning, the ASB has initiated events such as a trivia night on Oct. 2, lip dubs released on Oct. 8 and 9 and several Instagram-related activities that involved students taking photos of themselves dressed in their class color or doing activities they enjoyed.

The lip dubs involved students dancing and lip-syncing, among other activities to popular songs. The clips were eventually compiled into one video for each class which was uploaded to YouTube.

“In a normal year, it’s easy to follow annual traditions and go by what we always do, but this year, planning something completely new is hard because we’re moving through the dark and can’t always predict what’s going to work and what isn’t,” said ASB president Cynthia Zhang. 

Zhang said the ASB is trying to centralize their communication to ensure that everyone gets the message about upcoming spirit events, such as Movember, through social media and principal Greg Louie’s weekly newsletter emails.

Despite their best efforts, Leadership students face challenges in making the online events to measure up to the excitement of in-person spirit events. 

“The Avatar spirit week didn’t really compare to in-person events because you don't get that feeling of unity and teamwork when you’re decorating for homecoming and practicing for quad day together,” head spirit commissioner Emily Choi said. “You also don't get the excitement of quad day and being at the Homecoming football game and watching coronation during halftime. Those are some of the best memories of the year and virtual events cannot replace or equate to those.”

Sophomore Anirudh Iyer, who took part in his class’s lip dub video, acknowledged that participating in an online spirit week wasn’t the same as in-person events.

“Even though I wasn’t a part of those events last year, I could see that there was a lot more excitement around them and a lot more people that participated,” he said.

Participation in spirit week events has decreased noticeably. There were around 10 to 20 people featured in each class’s lip dub, with some classes on the lower end of the spectrum. This is a significant drop-off from the typical number of participants for in-person events like quad day, which can involve dozens of students per grade level. 

Although recreating this same level of school spirit is probably impossible in the current setting, the ASB is doing their best to increase participation and give students a similar experience as previous years.

“In a virtual year, we want to emulate that same sense of community offered to students in these spirit events,” said Zhang. “We understand that it truly makes a difference for a lot of people to have that space.”