Thursday, November 28, 2013

High School Spirit

Working at a high school is much different than working at an elementary or middle school. That's a given. But the atmosphere in a high school right before the big Thanksgiving Day game is like nothing I've ever seen.

It starts with Spirit Week.
Each day, from the Wednesday before the game until the Wednesday of the Pep Rally, has a different theme. Grades compete to see who has the most spirit and results are announced at the end of the day. (Although my freshman get the impression that it is rigged for the Seniors to win.)

The first day was Celebrity/Character Day (I did not participate). The next, mix and match/ opposite day. You can see my outfit above. That Friday was Boston Strong/ New England Sports. Monday was Pajama day... it was the coldest day so far this winter and with the heat hardly working in my room, I loved that I could get away with wearing a sweatshirt and slippers! Next was Color Wars: each grade and staff were assigned a color to wear. Everyone seemed to get into this one! The seniors in particular were decked out and must have had shirts printed ahead of time. Plus there were girls walking around in pink tutus and guys in pink tights. (The attire made my evening a little easier, but I will get into that in a minute) The final day, the day of the Pep Rally, was Blue and White day.

So Tuesday after school...
Actually, let me back up to last year. On the day of the Pep Rally last year, I walked into the art room, the door somehow already unlocked, scraps of paper everywhere, unwashed brushes in the sink and our paint supplies seriously diminished. What happened?

The night before the Pep Rally, the tradition is for each grade to decorate a hallway and make posters for the gym. Remember, Spirit Week is a competition. So somehow students got into the Art Room unsupervised and took what they wanted... I was new and part time, if someone had told me, I would have been a little more proactive. I was also seriously annoyed. So this year I decided to do something about it.

I approached the principal a couple of weeks ago, asking if there was any money to supply students with paint not from the art budget. I went out and purchased some tempera paint and will be reimbursed. We have plenty of not so great brushes and somehow a good supply of poster board. I also asked if it would be okay to charge students twenty-five cents for the boards and have the proceeds go to the Art Club.

I have to say, everything went pretty smoothly.
I put the paint in small containers and coffee cup holders like I used to with the little ones.

I had the desks pushed together into giant tables and other supplies like scissors and tape out and available. If students wanted to take supplies outside of the art room, I took down their names, holding them responsible. (I only lost two rolls of tape!) Through the night there were probably up to fifty students in the Art Room and out in the hallway.

By 5:30 though, I was tired and hungry, having no idea that they were going to stay so long! I asked the dozen or so still working to wrap it up and shoot to be out of the room by 6. I had a great group of Juniors make sure the tables were scrubbed and even had some out in the hall washing the floors.

Between poster board and butcher block paper sales, we made $15.50 and the room was still intact. The art department may not have gotten a shout out at the pep rally, but I was happy to give up my time to be a silent part of a spirited tradition that brings the students together in good fun.

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