As September draws to a close, many Palo Alto High School students look forward to one exciting event amid all their tests, projects and deadlines — Spirit Week.
With only three weeks until one of the liveliest weeks of the school year, it’s time to start getting pumped. Although it might be a little too early to dig those costumes out, there are a number of ways to start getting involved in your grade’s preparation. You could provide your artistic ability in the float or t-shirt designing, contribute your dancing skills (or lack thereof) to your grade’s spirit dance or write a cheer for the lunchtime rallies.
For the freshmen or new kids out there, one of the most exciting aspects of Spirit Week is the daily cheers. During every lunchtime of Spirit Week, each grade presents short cheers corresponding with the daily dress-up theme, the activity or the class as a whole. These cheers are normally submitted in the grade’s Spirit Week Facebook group and picked by Associated Student Body leaders based on popular choice and effectiveness.
Want to contribute a cheer to your grade but don’t know how to get started? We’ve compiled a list of the top six tips for writing a killer cheer.
Rhyming cheers work the best:
“I think what has typically worked well in the past are cheers that are easy to say as a big group and cheers that rhyme well,” senior ASB Secretary Joseph Kao said. “It sounds more fluent and united that way.”
Rhyming is one of the most important parts in creating a cheer. The end of each line should rhyme with the next down to the exact syllable to create a flowing, powerful cheer. When a cheer does not rhyme exactly, the class is usually unable to chant it correctly and ends up stumbling over the words. To get the most points for the cheers, you need to perfect its delivery. One of the best feelings during Spirit Week is when your class is able to perfectly deliver a cheer without any prior experience.
Seven syllables, seven syllables:
According to junior class President Noa Ben-Efraim and junior ASB Vice President Anmol Nagar, the best structural choice for a smooth-flowing, easy Spirit Week cheer is a two-lined cheer with seven syllables in each. Too many syllables can sound clunky and is often difficult for a grade to repeat back with ease. So when coming up with those cheers, clap out those seven syllables and if necessary, bust out a thesaurus to help find a word that could fit the requirement.
Here’s a few cheers used in the past that follow the seven syllable rule:
The Class of 2017 produced a cheer with seven syllables in each line for the gym rally’s three-point basketball competition:
Upperclassmen might have keys, but at least we sink our three’s
The Class of 2015 used the seven syllable rule in creating a cheer regarding their class theme (The Great Gatsby):
NYC around the bend, Gatsby’s party never ends
Making cheers that are appropriate is key. Paly’s Spirit Week is a school event, so don’t use any words or phrases that you wouldn’t normally say in class. Stick only to cheers that judges will approve because points are deducted for inappropriate cheers. Boos and profanity decrease scores (as well as throwing objects or disrupting competitions in any way). In the end, Spirit Week is meant to be a fun and stress-free event, so make sure to be appropriate and create a safe space for all fellow Paly students who simply want to show off their school spirit.
“I would make sure the cheers are appropriate because different judges judge things differently,” Ben-Efraim said.
Focus on supporting your grade, not attacking others:
Try to avoid too many of those zinger cheers that put down other grades. Although they might be fun to come up with, try to keep it positive. According to Ben-Efraim, this will boost scoring for your grade and means you can reuse your cheers.
“I suggest that the grade focus more on their individual grades instead of being sassy and cheeky towards other grades,” Ben-Efraim said. “You’ll get more points and you can have cooler cheers that can last the entire week.”
Furthermore, the judges will take off points for sportsmanship if any grade gets too nasty towards another. Although this hasn’t happened in a few years, the judges will take off 50 points from a grade’s total for “any negative or inappropriate cheers, if anyone uses noise makers other than their own clapping and cheering, or if anyone is violent towards another student,” according to ASB’s website.
Fifty points can completely offset a victory in a lunchtime activity or bring a cheer’s first place score down to third place.
Show your school spirit:
Spirit Week’s main purpose is to unify Paly’s student body. Even though each class joins in a strong competition against each other, the judges still look for students who work together, no matter the grade. Classes that create cheers to show support for all Paly students show off their school spirit stronger than others. Judges love Paly-unity cheers and will think highly of each class that cares about the school as a whole.
Additionally, teaming up with other classes to show off your school spirit allows the cheers to be louder and therefore more powerful. The judges love when they see two grades working together for cheers. So get together with another class ahead of time and prepare a few cheers that you can both do together at one of the lunch or after-school rallies.
Be loud and have fun:
At the end of the day, no matter how clever or inclusive your cheer is, it won’t make a difference if no one can hear it. According to junior class Vice President Natalie Maloney, being loud is the most important part of a successful cheer.
“Being loud is mostly what we are judged on,” Maloney said. “So that will earn the most points.”
Make sure as many members of your grade come to the daily lunch rallies, and make sure you participate as much as possible. So bring all your friends and be prepared to be lose your voice by the end of the week from all the shouting you’ll do. (Don’t worry, everyone else will have lost theirs too.)
Finally, make sure not to get too hung up on winning or losing points. Yes, getting in the competitive spirit is a key component of Spirit Week, but make sure you enjoy dressing up crazy and shouting along with all your classmates.
Here are a few examples of Spirit Week cheers that have been used in the past. These are not all representatives of an ideal cheer, but demonstrate a class’s unity in creating and/or delivering one: