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The Paly Voice

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After rallies, score revisions, seniors win Spirit Week


Seniors wore green on color day; by the end of the judging and controversy, they emerged as the victors of Spirit Week. 

– Jen Lin

After an exciting week of spirited games, rallies and an outcry over a sophomore upset, Spirit Week finished with a senior class win, according to the final score tallies published by the Associated Student Body. 

Though the sophomore class charged 150 points ahead of both the seniors and juniors after the Friday after-school rally, seniors ultimately triumphed with a total of 6104.5 points after additional judging of the Friday after school rally. Juniors followed in second place with 5864.5 points. Sophomores finished third with 4381.5 points and freshman finished last with 2288.5 points. 

The sophomore’s results on Friday caused a student outcry from the Palo Alto High School audience on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. The scores, however, were reviewed by ASB on Monday to ensure fairness. 

According to Student Activities Director Matt Hall, the additional judging happened after the ASB officers were not fully satisfied with the judges’ scores from Friday. Hall explained that there were four original judges, but some judges couldn’t show up.

Out of the four scores, the scores from science teacher and freshman class adviser Liz Brimhall and Dean of Students Craig Tuana were discounted to reduce bias, according to Hall.

“Certainly for fairness and equity purposes, [ASB] thought, ‘Okay we probably shouldn’t have one of the class advisers judging a class competition’ so we took out Ms. Brimhall’s score,” Hall said. “And then Mr. Winston said, ‘Well, you know, admin should kind of also be above the fray. We don’t have to take sides for one class or the other, so let’s take out Mr. Tuana’s score,’ which left us with two distinct scores for the entire float, dance competition which is worth markedly more points than most regular day spirit rallies.” 

Hall added that the ASB president, vice president, class presidents, class vice presidents and two spirit commissioners from each grade agreed to recruit three more judges. The final scores include both the two scores left from the original four judges and the three new judges, and resulted in the senior win.  

Sophomore class president Alex Hammer was not as pleased with the results. 

“I do not like the results of Spirit Week,” Hammer said. “By points, sophomores should have won. But, it was voted to take a recount and so it goes, the sophomores end up in third. So be it.” 

Despite the loss, Hammer is proud of his class performance.

“For the sophomores, Sprit Week was extremely successful,” Hammer said. “Our theme, ‘Emergency 911,’ was interpreted really well on theme day and was perfectly implemented into the dance and float.” 

Hammer added that he is very proud of his sophomore’s “initial victory.” 

Some students, like junior Joshua Oh, said they believe the results of the judging came out correctly. 

“I think the overall results were what they were supposed to be,” Oh said. “Seniors deserve first, juniors deserve second and so on.”

Besides an eventful recounting and angry outbursts, there were other events for the rest of the week that ended in various wins for all the classes. On Monday, classes had a game of musical chairs and dancing while dressing. Sumo wrestling followed on Tuesday, and a relay race involving power bars and eggs ended in a sophomore win on Wednesday. Thursday featured hula-hoops and tug-of-war and Friday ended with the tarp relay. Best-dressed competitions and class cheers stayed constant throughout the entire Spirit Week. 

Looking back on the entire week, Hall thought that Spirit Week was a success. 

“For my first Spirit Week, [it was] amazing, learned a lot,” Hall said.  

However, Hall added there are a few things he sees changing with Spirit Week.

“I think the easiest tweak we could do right off the bat would be to publish all score sheets,” Hall said. Hall also added that ASB may consider a second Spirit Week and also discuss the “point differential,” because Friday’s spirit dance and float rally are worth ten times as much as other rallies.

“Maybe it should be five times as much,” Hall said. “Maybe it should be equal [to the other rallies]. Maybe it’s worth even more.”

Junior Class President Jessica Tam said that the new goal of the ASB was transparency – something she believes could be further improved by ASB. 

“Our goal this year was to increase ASB transparency, and though we are not quite there yet, we definitely improved our openness during Spirit Week,” Tam said.  

“I think ASB did a great job during Spirit Week, and we really proved that ASB will make an effort to go all out,” Tam added. 

Oh expressed similar feelings about Spirit Week’s success.

“I think every class brought an intense amount of spirit, more than what I’ve ever experienced throughout past Spirit Weeks,” Oh said.

Tam said, “Spirit Week is all about instigating Paly spirit within the school and giving everyone a sense of belonging. I believe we did just that.” 

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