Gotta Get Down on Friday: A Spirit Initiative at Poly


Elizabeth Perry, Photography Editor

On some Friday afternoons, at around 3:45, you might find high school juniors working with their 7th-grade counterparts to complete a competitive game of potato sack racing. Events like these are the newest aspect of the Spirit Cup program.

In past years, the only Spirit Cup event was a field day, typically towards the end of the year. Last year, attempts to improve the Spirit Cup program included multiple spirit events such as a field day, winter clothing drive, HBCU trivia challenge, a spelling bee, and a “Poly’s Got Talent Talent Show.” 

Now Poly is attempting to add even more events for both students and teachers in after-school spirit competitions. So far this school year there have been four main Spirit Cup events, all occurring after school from 3:45 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. on Fridays, which is an adjustment from the events taking place in assembly blocks last year. These events have consisted of a giant Jenga building competition, a potato sack race, an Oreo eating competition, and a rock paper scissor event. 

“Competition on a Friday afternoon is a great way to go into the weekend,” said Junior Khari Freeman, the winner of the potato sack competition.

“Part of these more light-hearted Spirit Cup events is to help students get outside of the serious nature of life and to just remind themselves to have fun. A potato sack race whether you’re in 5th grade or 11th grade is fun. We saw the faculty do it at the pep rally and it was awesome,” said Jared Winston, the director of student life and the person in charge of the competitions. 

At the Homecoming pep rally, faculty members volunteered to compete in a potato sack race, scoring points for either the gray or the blue team. With the entire student body cheering them on, faculty and staff were able to engage in some light-hearted fun and create entertainment for students.

“I thought, this is going to be fun, someone is going to fall on their face. I didn’t think it would be me. It was humiliating,” said Jeremi Lewis, a Middle School math support teacher and middle school football coach. 

Another change to the Spirit Cup programming is that the events now occur after school, due to a lack of time during assembly blocks, which is when Spirit Cup events used to take place. Each event invites a certain number of students from a Middle School grade and an Upper School grade to compete in the event of the day. However, a common trend at these events has been that it is mostly middle schoolers attending.

This difference in attendance may be due to almost eight out of ten Upper School students participating in athletics, according to Winston. Winston believes that Upper School students find athletics to be a conflict with Spirit events. 

The purpose of the programming is to implement more fun into daily life at Poly. With the stresses of school in consideration, Winston said the Poly administration wants to add engaging activities to every student’s week. 

“Fun is fun no matter what. Fun doesn’t change. But people do. A relationship to fun changes for one reason or another. Whether that’s human development, human insecurity, putting ourselves out there to make fun of ourselves,” said Winston. 

“It’s just a really good school environment to be creating. It makes people feel like a part of their school and makes everything feel like a really big community,” said Junior Jess Dosik (Dosik is the deputy news editor for the Polygon). 

Even if not competing in an event, students fill the Oval to watch their classmates and peers compete before school gets let out for the weekend.  

“More frequent events help to increase student spirit a lot more. Kids are more involved in things more often so they have a high spirit for school,” said Lewis. 

“I’m really proud, whether or not the Spirit Cup has been the catalyst for [Poly Spirit]. I’m not sure it has been. That might have been a nice addition for students. I’ve been really proud of how our students have approached this school year so far. The first month and a half of the school year for faculty and staff and administration is a lot of tone setting for the students,” said Winston.