Juniors Lose in Controversial Spirit Week Decision

The Mt. Hebron Homecoming game against Reservoir ended in disappointment for many with an end score of 44-6 and the following announcement at the end of the halftime show: the seniors, by a “scant 25 points,” won Spirit Week, securing two wins in a row for the class of 2019.

Immediately, complaints began to fly. The seniors had not won any of the Spirit Days, at best reaching a tie in one of the two categories with the juniors on Music Day. The Viking had to help them win tug-of-war. Their wall was commonly thought to be sub-par to that of the juniors, and they had not won the shouting contest during the pep rally, drowned out multiple times by the juniors shouting, “We can’t hear you!”

“They just got pity points,” said one junior, echoing the thoughts of their nearby peers. “The seniors won only because they’re seniors. They’re supposed to win, so they did.”

Junior John Ross, the mascot during the pep rally, and a member of SGA, was able to provide insight about the scoring for the event.

“The Spirit Days count for about 100 points. It goes from 100 to 75, 100 for first and 75 for second,” Ross said. “The seniors weren’t losing by that much after the four days that they lost.”

“We did not deserve to win,” an anonymous senior said. “The juniors should have won.”

In an anonymous poll conducted among a total of 64 sophomores and freshmen, 51 of the students polled (roughly 80%) said the juniors deserved to win Spirit Week. Only 13 of the underclassmen, about 20%, agreed that the seniors deserved the win they got.

Most of the school is in agreement that the seniors did not deserve to win Spirit Week.

The teachers and students who manage Spirit Week have the judging down to a science. First place for an event gets 200, second gets 100, third gets 50, and fourth place earns zero points.

Spirit Week is based on five events — Spirit Days, dress tally, pep rally, wall and float– in a winner-takes-all reward system. The juniors, for example, won more Spirit Day competitions, so they won the 200 points allotted to Spirit Days.

Take note of the 100-point difference between first and second place. Ms. Katherine Engelstatter and Mr. Philip Herdman, the Student Government Association co-sponsors, brought up their concerns about this point difference. The students, however, decided to keep the point difference despite the reality that 100 points is a big lead for the first-place winner, making it harder for the class in second place to catch up.

As mentioned, the juniors were the winner of the Spirit Days. The seniors won every other event except the dress tally, securing 600 points with first place victories in the pep rally, wall and float. The juniors got second in each of those events and fourth place in the dress tally, bringing their total score only to 500.

Aside from the Spirit Days, the pep rally and wall are the most hotly contested events, with the most ambiguous scoring systems and seemingly toss-up victories. While the relay race has a clear winner (either you get first or you don’t), the shouting contest is up to the teachers and administrators on the field. The students in the stands would not know until much later who won.

The wall is similarly subject to opinion, but there is a definite scoring system. Teachers who scored the walls had neck-and-neck final scores, with the seniors earning 160 points versus the juniors, who earned 157.

The pep rally was broken up into three events, each of which the seniors won. The shouting contest, the relay race and the tug-of-war earned them 200 points and secured their win in the pep rally.

Even if the juniors had officially won the tug-of-war, they could not have gotten enough points to win Spirit Week. Winning tug-of-war does not mean winning the pep rally, and the disparity between the points awarded to first and second place only dragged the juniors further away from victory.

Some students, juniors and seniors alike, argue that if each Spirit Day had been counted separately, the juniors would have won. That is not the case. With each Spirit Day weighted with 100 points, the juniors won three and tied for one, which accounts for 350 points overall.

The seniors would have gotten only 250 points from the Spirit Days, but they won every other event except the dress tally. With a total of 900 points from winning three out of three pep rally events, the wall and the float, the seniors dominated.

But in the eyes of students across all grades, it is a common perception that the juniors should have taken the title for most spirited class, suggesting there may be a need for a change in the scoring system in the near future.

Categories: Opinions

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