Miscommunication hinders Spirit Week

By David Han
Published: November 2009

Lack of planning time and miscommunications between the senior Class Officers and administration resulted in a final two-day Spirit Week, a modification to the senior Class Officers’ original plan for a five-day Spirit Week, which would have led up to today’s pep rally and Powderpuff game.

The senior Class Officers first contacted the administration about Spirit Week on November 10, when Guidance Counselor Kristen Bixby emailed Wheeler Housemaster and senior Class Adviser Josepha Blocker the senior Class Officers’ rough schedule for a five-day Spirit Week with spirit competitions between houses.

The Class Officers and the School Spirit Club collaborated over the rough schedule.

Before receiving confirmation from the administration, the senior Class Officers sent out the first of three Facebook messages to the Class of 2010, informing seniors of a five-day Spirit Week with competition between the grades.

Blocker claims to have been notified of the first Spirit Week schedule at the end of the November 10 week, at which point she proposed the timetable to the school’s Leadership Team, an administrative group comprising of the principal, the four Housemasters, the Assistant Principals, and Director of Guidance.

Although the ideas in the initial memo were “really great ideas, the Leadership Team expressed worry about planning and logistic issues in the original plan, Blocker says.

“We needed a little more time to plan, she said. Certain dress-themes and the exact process of how competition between the grades or houses would be conducted posed logistical issues.

Notified of the administration’s request for a modified proposal for Spirit Week, the officers drafted a proposal for a three-day Spirit Week with competition between the grades.

The next day on November 16, the six senior Class Officers and the junior and freshman class presidents met with the four Housemasters to explain the edited plan.

“They [the Housemasters] seemed very excited about it, senior class Vice President David Krieger said. “They wanted to be included in it, and we took that as a sign that they wanted to do it.

After the meeting, the senior Class Officers interpreted the administration’s positive feedback as a signal to move forward with the plan. The Class Officers sent out a second Facebook message that night alerting the senior class of a three-day Spirit Week with competition.

The meeting, however, did not to finalize any decisions, according to Goodwin Housemaster Charles Myette.

The Leadership Team met on November 17 to decide what schedule to carry out. It sent an email to the senior Class Officers, disclosing a final decision for a two-day Spirit Week with no competition.

Today’s Spirit Week dress-theme is Blue and Orange; yesterday’s was Boston Sports spirit.

The senior Class Officers then sent out a third Facebook message, informing the senior class of the finalized Spirit Week.

The junior, sophomore, and freshman Class Officers also sent out messages to their respective classes during various stages of the Spirit Week planning process.

“There was just such short notice that [the officers] wanted to do three days, Goldrick Housemaster Henry Turner said. “We really support doing Spirit Week, and we’d love to see one that is excellent.

 “We thought about what constraints were likely to have the best outcomes, and how we could best concentrate our supports for an effort that would go well, Blocker said.

Chesler respects the administration’s reasoning behind the final decision.

“They have to worry about so many sides of the issues, he said. “They have to worry about safety and time whereas we only have to worry about kids having fun.

Blocker feels that not enough time was prearranged to plan Spirit Week.

“If this was brought to us a month in advance, we might have been able to work toward a solution, she said. “It’s really the time crunch.

Senior Class Officer Liza Barnes feels both parties can learn from the experience.

“We just need to plan much farther ahead than we think, she said. “We need to communicate more clearly on both ends.

Principal Joel Stembridge feels that, although the class officers could have informed the administration of a plan for Spirit Week in advance, the administration could have made expectations clearer in the planning process.

“My basic philosophy is that if we are going to do it, we are going to do it well, he said. “I want to make sure that everyone is aware and on board. It doesn’t build spirit if some student’s are involved, some students don’t know about it, and faculty does not understand what is going on.

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