a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”
-Oxford English Dictionary
Have you ever seen a high school student, who usually wears a men’s large t-shirt, wearing a youth large t-shirt meant to celebrate his graduation from the 5th grade? That was a common occurrence at the Biddy today, and take it from me, it wasn’t always pretty. And don’t think this is supposed to be an insult, as I myself was a part of the aforementioned crowd.
For those of you who missed the memo, today was the start of Spirit Week at the Biddy, and the “celebrations” kicked off with today’s theme: Throwback Thursday. For our readers who have yet to conform to the terrifying, soul-crushing monster that is Instagram, Throwback Thursday is a trend on the site, where users post a photo of themselves in the past, accompanied by the caption #ThrowBackThursday or #TBT for the more mainstream user.
At first, I was skeptical towards the theme. I felt as if no one would find today’s theme interesting enough to participate at the level with which they participate in some other spirit days, like the infamous Pajama Day. In some aspects, I was right, but in others I was wrong. What I quickly learned is that many people were, in fact, embracing today’s theme, they were just doing so in a more subtle manner than usual.
Throughout the day, there were some common trends at the Big Biddy, in regards to exactly how students showed their school spirit. By far the most common dress style was similar to what I mentioned earlier. Students seemed to express nostalgia towards their elementary school days, which they demonstrated by wearing either 5th-grade graduation t-shirts or, through the more common thread, of wearing merchandise representing elementary school sports teams. Evan Murphy, a Sophomore at the Biddy, wore his South School Basketball sweatshirt, as seen below:
I asked Evan for his opinion on Spirit week, and he simply replied:
“My name is Evan Murphy." Great answer Evan.
This was one of the first questions I asked Thursday morning, so, based on his lack of enthusiasm, I feared the public opinion towards Spirit Week may not be as positive as I, and the administration had hoped. Still, though, I went on.
My first period is Concert Band, and in Concert Band, and even Chorus down the hall, I noticed a plethora of students wearing “Higgins Music” or “Higgins Performing Arts” memorabilia. As a band kid, however, I felt it was my obligation to interview one of Peabody High’s most talented Bari Sax players, someone whose personality is as loud as his instrument, Sophomore Kyle Sousa. Kyle was sporting a blue Higgins Band sweatshirt, as was also-Sophomore Sarah Bratt.
Our dialogue was simple, yet sophisticated, in a way most don’t understand. I started by greeting Kyle in the most socially acceptable, polite greeting I could think of:
“Spicy KSous what’s crackin’ mang?” I shouted to him, putting extra emphasis on a series of entirely intentional voice cracks.
Kyle, only partially amused, stared at me with a puzzled expression.
“Why are you wearing what you’re wearing?” I asked.
“Because I like Higgins Music,” Kyle replied, more enthusiastically than before.
“And your opinion on Spirit Week in general?”
“Spirit Week is pretty cool. They could’ve had some better choices for days and, uh, people need more spirit.” And with that, it seems like an underlying mood may be developing.
I proceeded to turn the mic to Sarah Bratt who simply said:
I turned then to Sophomore Kevin Santos, who was dressed in his Pisces Cluster shirt from 8th grade, and some old clothing.
I asked Santos the same question about his opinion on Spirit Week that I had asked Kyle before, to which he replied:
“Uhh, I think more people need to participate.”
Again? Wow. This is a common theme.
As I began to walk away towards the band hall, I saw two of my fellow Sophomores, Gabe Goldman and Andrew Langley. I asked them the same question I’d been asking all morning. Andrew simply stared me down and said that he “pleads the fifth."
Without saying a word I turned to Gabe.
“Umm, I disapprove of all things put forth by our, umm, conformist society, so, umm I decided to just wear my normal clothing, because, I, uhh, I guess that's just who I am. I’m not a savage like some of the other people at this school and-”
I cut him off as the bell rang, and also because he was starting to sound way too real. Stay woke Gabe, stay woke.
As the day went on, I didn’t get as many interviews in as I would have liked. I was sort of turned away from my commitment by the answers I’d gotten throughout the day.
Before I knew it, I was in seventh period, geometry, and I didn't really have much to base an entire article on. As I was leaving, though I thought I’d take one last chance on an interview. This time, rather than a student, I turned to my teacher, Ms. Jaros.
“So, Ms. Jaros, what do you think about ThrowBack Thursday?” I asked.
“Umm, I thought it was a fun theme. I liked that it had multiple interpretations.” She replied.
I finished off our short conversation with the question I’d been asking people all day,
“What do you think of Spirit Week in General?”
“Uh, I think that it’s a really nice way to boost school morale, and, um, unity.”
I realized quickly that she was right. In a time when we’re so divided as a nation, it’s important to unify ourselves on every level. Maybe to the students, it didn't seem like much, but in reality Spirit Week is one of the most genuinely important events we have as a school each year. We forget about violent conflicts around the world, and for one week embrace friendly competition between classes. We teach people to work with each other to show which class has the most spirit, and that’s great.
This leads me now to what was probably the most meaningful interview I had all day. At one point in the morning, I turned to one of the Juniors in band, Tim Serino, and asked him why on ThrowBack Thursday he was wearing an American flag on his shirt.
He simply replied that it was a “throwback to when [he] had faith in America.” Deep stuff.
I didn’t know for sure what Tim was talking about, as it could have been many things, and I know some students probably don’t agree with what he was saying, but what’s important is that he was expressing himself in a peaceful way, and he was showing school spirit while doing so.
I hope as Spirit Week moves forward now, we can use Tim as an example. I hope we can use this week to express ourselves, to interpret the themes’ meanings as we wish (as long as it’s appropriate) just like Ms. Jaros said.
So, all there is left to say is that I encourage you all to have some fun in the coming days. Maybe you haven't dressed up for Spirit Week in the past, but this year, I certainly hope you will. This is important.