Virtual Spirit week a success

By Nick Spinali

Lead Redcoat Review Writer

Posted June 3, 2020

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is keeping students and staff out of school, the Berlin High School Student Council has found a way for students and staff to continue to show their Berlin pride by hosting the first ever Virtual Spirit Week. The event, which lasted from May 4 to May 8, was a distant version of the traditional Spirit Week held twice annually at Berlin High School, consisting of students and staff dressing in a number of different outfits that correlated with the different days of the week.

“I was definitely surprised at people's willingness to participate at all!” said Mrs. Mayette, a Staff Advisor for the Student Council and a major contributor to the event. “We recognized that sometimes it is hard to feel engaged when you aren't actually in the building, but kids and staff, alike, had their outfits ready and posted away.”

The different themes from the week consisted of Medical Mask Monday, Travel Tuesday, Walt Disney Wednesday, Thank You Thursday, and the iconic Color Wars designed for that Friday. The most photo submissions came on Travel Tuesday, while Medical Mask Monday was a close second. In total, 254 photo submissions were tallied over the course of the week.

All around the community, students and staff have been looking for ways to stay occupied and to show their Berlin High School pride from home. Even though Spirit Week has become a staple in the tradition that takes place at Berlin High School, it was hard to predict the outcome of the online version of the event.

“I think that the reason participating in the virtual Spirit Week showed Berlin High School pride,” Mayette said, “was because it would have been really easy to ignore. Taking the time to figure out what a person was going to wear, taking the photo, finding the GoogleForm to submit it in - those are all conscious tasks connecting us to Berlin High School.”

By taking the time to dress up and to submit a photo response was a unique way for students and staff to show that even out of school, Berlin High School tradition has remained essential for both students and staff members.

The story behind the origination of a virtual-based Spirit Week is unique in of itself.

“I have post-its on my computer, and one of them had ‘Pep Rally - May 22’ on it,” Mayette said when asked how the idea came to fruition. “When we started the Distance Learning process back on March 18, I saw it every day. I kept thinking we needed to do something. When I sent an email to Mr. Recore (who is a Student Council co-advisor) and the officers asking if they thought we should try to do this, the response was overwhelmingly ‘YES.’ Mrs. Eustis loved the idea, and the officers took about a day or two and came up with the five themes.”

Along with Mrs. Mayette and Mr. Recore, student council officers who contributed to the execution of Virtual Spirit Week were President Emily Rutledge, Vice President Makayla Gorski, and Media Secretary Emma Roski.

All around the world, people are hoping that we can achieve some kind of normalcy in the near future, and Virtual Spirit Week was the perfect way for the Berlin High School community to attain that goal.

“I am a firm believer in trying to maintain as much regularity as possible - and especially to find reasons to have some fun,” Mayette noted. “We are in such a serious situation - far from the fun of our traditional Spirit Week and Pep Rally and all of the things that make this time of year so fun - especially for seniors. We obviously couldn't have a Pep Rally, but with technology, we could certainly have our themed-day Spirit Week.”

For the seniors departing Berlin High School in June, Virtual Spirit Week not only helped to maintain a bit of normality, but helped to salvage an event that they have participated in over the last four years.

Despite the fun and the tradition that the online-based Spirit Week provided for its participants, the widespread hope is that students and staff members will soon be back at Berlin High School to show their school spirit.

“After this crazy spring, I hope that everyone really enjoys their time back in school next year,” Mayette continued. “It's a lot of hard work - I totally recognize that - but there are so many things we took for granted... So the main way I hope students and staff display their school pride upon returning to school is making sure we take advantage of all those things - hit a few more games, participate in a couple more club activities, head to the musical or concert, pop in to say hello to one of your teachers/students from this year who you didn't get to say good-bye to. I just hope people realize how lucky we are to be at Berlin High School - it's a pretty great place to be.”