Spirit Week unites school's student body


POSTED: Monday, November 10, 2008

Spirit Week at Damien is a favorite tradition used to foster school pride. Though it has changed over the years, Spirit Week—which took place this year from Oct. 27 to 31—remains relevant thanks to its ability to bring everyone in the school community together.

Spirit Week is the one thing everyone in Damien has in common. Students who don't participate in sports teams or are not active in extracurricular activities consider the week as an important way to be part of the school; even students who normally don't talk to each other can get together to support their school.

From football players to math team members, everyone rallies to show Damien pride.

“;I like Spirit Week because it is an entire week where we can support our school while being able to have fun.”; said junior Matt Messier. “;It's also a way to help people by donating to charity. It helps keep our school together since we all participate in the events.”;

Spirit Week has experienced many changes throughout Damien's history. High school Principal Michael Weaver recalled a Spirit Week from the late 1960s.

“;Spirit Week when I came to school here just used to be called Homecoming. It was a week to dress down and was very similar to Spirit Week now, but there was a homecoming parade where all the seniors with cars decorated them and drove down to Honolulu Stadium for the game,”; Weaver said. “;When I started teaching here in 1991, between Spirit Week and Homecoming, Homecoming was focused on much more. The big deal was to vote for the girls to be queen. We began shifting our interests back to focus on students from our own school.”;

  Chris Arquero, a counselor and 1997 alumnus, noted several differences between Spirit Week in the 1990s and its current form.

“;One thing that was different from the Spirit Week we have now was that there used to be a cultural day where people could dress as a specific ethnicity,”; Arquero said. “;There was also a full court for Homecoming instead of just representatives, when a guy was chosen for the court they were allowed to pick a girl for the court.”;

English teacher Philip Higa, a 1998 graduate, also remembers a different Spirit Week.

“;Something they don't do anymore is the competition between classes for who would participate the most through the week, in each homeroom they would count how many people were participating and the winners would get lunch or ice cream.”;

This year, the student government and their adviser, social studies teacher Adrian Vasai-Moana, organized Spirit Week. Events during the week combine charity with school spirit. Students who donate the day's requested toiletry item are allowed a break from school attire to dress according to different themes.

On Monday, students wore sports jerseys and other athletic attire. Tuesday was “;favorite character day,”; on which students dressed as their favorite TV, movie or comic book character. Students could go crazy on Wednesday with wacky hair and clothes, then switch to Damien pride on Thursday by wearing school clothes and athletic attire in preparation for that night's varsity football game against Pac-Five. And Halloween costumes were a must on Friday.

In addition to giving students the chance to dress up, Spirit Week also features special events like a pep rally on Wednesday, and the school's homecoming game on Thursday. At the pep rally, each grade level comes up with a cheer, and the class with the best one is awarded a free dress day. For homecoming, each grade votes for a student who represents the class well and demonstrates qualities of the school motto, “;act manfully.”; Representatives are introduced during the homecoming pep rally and participate in a ceremony during halftime at Damien's homecoming game.