ERHS Spirit Week: Students Torn Between Official and Unofficial Themes

Julissa Mendozarobles and Joy Reider

After a year of distance learning, Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s (ERHS) fall spirit week tradition was in person again from October 12 to October 14. Fall spirit week includes students dressing up according to themes each day in anticipation for a homecoming football game.

On Tuesday, the official themes were tie-dye and crazy day, and for Wednesday the official theme was cartoon character day. Dr. Secker, spirit week organizer, explains that “the decision for the spirit week days came from a survey completed by students.” 

A few students came together and created new themes they thought would be better. With the help of Instagram, students were able to spread the word around.  Senior Wilfred Mbayu, the senior class Treasurer, explained that him and other students “made” the new themes in a “group chat” and got their ideas from “TikTok.”  

The unofficial theme for Tuesday was gender swap day and Wednesday’s was decades day.  As per usual, the final day of spirit week was class color day.  Principal Reginald McNeil states that he was “disappointed that students we’re going behind our backs and doing different things” and later on comments that his “door is always open” to make decisions that are “more inclusive for all students.” He suggests that if students “want to get involved and have a voice in what spirit week should look like” they should “join the student government, be a representative for [their] class, and talk to Mr. Secker about [their] ideas.”

October 12 was when the confusion and in the words of the Principal McNeill “rebellion” started. Students were seen in multiple different themes and outfits ranging from crazy day to gender swap. Theoretically, the principal’s words of warning would make students abide by the school given spirit week, but October 13 would prove different. The hallways were filled with people in costumes of cartoon characters and different trends from various decades.     

With multiple themes for each day, students had to decide on their own which theme they would create their outfits for.  Some students even made outfits that combined both the official and unofficial themes. Mbayu feels that “making the new themes was definitely worth it” and “it was really nice to have refreshing, new content” since “stuff like crazy day” has been “seen before” in past spirit weeks.  Freshman Olivia Visnic “really enjoyed [her] first spirit week” and felt that “it was a super fun experience to do with friends and coordinate with people in your class.”  She “chose to wear an outfit with the unofficial theme because” she liked it “better in general.” 

“I was happy to see the students make the most of a short week, and we had a great time.” says Dr. Secker. And while Senior Luca Pedone thought it was “unfortunate” that spirit week was only three days long, he exclaimed that “participating in [his] final fall spirit week” felt “surreal.”  He said “it [felt] great to be involved for the last time.”

Overall, students enjoyed participating in this year’s fall spirit week—regardless of which themes they participated in.