Viking Week puts seniors at Spirit Week advantage

Emily Yun and Arohi Bhattacharya

Palo Alto High School seniors will enter a possible Spirit Week next semester with a head start after the first interactive “Viking Week” resulted in the class winning first place.

Seniors Andie Tetzlaff and Hana Erickson perform a popular TikTok dance to the Mariah Carey song “Obsessed” as their submission to the Monday challenge during Viking Week. Tetzlaff said she was excited to engage in the challenges, hoping they would live up to those of Spirit Week. “I wanted to participate in Viking Week this year because I liked the grade-wide competitions, even though they’re virtual,” Tetzlaff stated in a message to The Paly Voice. “It [Spirit Week] is my favorite week of the school year, so I wanted to get that old exhilarating experience of Spirit Week, despite it being a bit different.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Associated Student Body was not able to organize Paly’s annual Spirit Week. According to ASB officers, they organized Viking Week to get students involved in school spirit before the semester ends.

“The goal was to create an interactive week-long virtual event that would not replace Spirit Week, but rather promote spirit during distance learning,” senior and Spirit Commissioner Sabrina Chan said.

During Viking Week, which took place from Nov. 2 to Nov. 6, students had the opportunity to engage in five tasks: creating a TikTok video on Monday, making a trick-shot video on Tuesday, taking a timer picture on Wednesday, drawing art on Thursday, and showcasing Paly pride on Friday. Submissions were made through a Google form.

According to Chan, ASB received 40 total submissions for the tasks. Junior and Spirit Commissioner Joy Xu said ASB expected student participation in the event to be low.

“I would say I’m not really surprised with the amount of participation that we got,” Xu said. “I sort of had a ‘mini hunch’ that we weren’t going to get as much participation as we would if school were to occur in real life.”

To increase student participation, ASB promoted Viking Week through Instagram and offered prizes to the victors each day. 

“Points for your grade weren’t enough motivation to have students participate because we aren’t even in school, so we thought of gift cards, as it’s also a prize for a lot of ASB held competitions or games,” Xu said.

According to ASB officers, seniors earned 500 points, followed by the sophomores with 300 points, then juniors with 200 points, and then freshmen with 100 points.

Students participated in Paly Search in addition to daily tasks, in which students scanned QR codes found in various locations across Palo Alto. According to ASB, each student who scanned a QR code was automatically enrolled into a raffle to win a $15 reimbursement for Paly’s Spirit Store.

ASB received 182 submissions for Paly Search, according to Chan.

Junior Emma Joing, a participant in Paly Search, said it was an exciting activity for her to accomplish during her spare time.

“It felt like a scavenger hunt in a way,” Joing said. “I had free time after school one day so I thought it would be fun to see how many of the QR codes I could find. It was a cool experience that I’m glad I got to participate in.”

According to sophomore Evie Kramer, who runs publicity for ASB, ASB will continue to create more virtual events like Viking Week to replicate the social environment of in-person school. She said she found that students participate less in activities when they are required to make a submission, so ASB plans to shy away from that more. 

“I think in the future ASB is going to use the results to create more activities that might be easier to participate in, and don’t involve so much online submission,” Kramer stated in a message to The Voice. “Some parts of Viking Week had successful amounts of student engagement, for example Paly Search, but others had really low amounts of student participation, and overall we just hope to create more fun and engaging activities that students want to participate in.”