Photo by Abby Ryan
As the lights of the gymnasium went dark, only the shine of countless glow sticks in the hands of students seated in the bleachers illuminated the dance team who performed to the cheerful sound of holiday music.
At this year’s Not-So-Late-Night assembly, which introduced the winter sports teams, Spirit Club tried out a new tactic in an attempt to be more fair to the four classes competing for the Spirit Stick.
Spirit Club merged what is usually four class themes into one overall theme. The idea was for the Spirit Judges (the four teachers who decide who will win the stick) to judge each class on how spirited they were, instead of how many people dressed up. Spirit Club provided glow sticks for the event, which were intended to be given to each grade by color but ended up mixed with no particular order.
In the end, the sophomore class won the judges over. Sophomore Andrew Braun credited his class’s win to their performance in the competitions between grades.
“We won two of the three games so I was not surprised when we won,” Braun said. “However, the clubs were getting their own skits and not the classes. would’ve given the other classes a chance to win, because the sophomores did really well in the games we played.”
Braun enjoyed the changes made to the event.
“It was cool during musical chairs when they turned the lights off, because you could see everyone’s neon,” Braun said. “That was the good thing about everyone wearing the same thing.”
One of the four Spirit Judges, math teacher Elissa Ojeda, also approved of the changes made to the judging platform.
“Instead of just watching their individual outfits, we got to see the school as a whole come together,” Ojeda said. “It made it easier comparing who is more spirited.”
Ojeda said the sophomore class won the Spirit Stick by a close margin, as the other grades also brought their A-game.
“I can’t remember which other class were running hand-in-hand with, but it was really close overall,” Ojeda said. “The attire, the cheering, the respectfulness and all of the numbers were pretty much the same when it came to our conversation.”
Spirit Club chose Not-So-Late-Night to introduce their new ideas because of lower expected attendance.
“This is probably the most laid-back assembly of the year because there is no court and there’s not a big event,” junior Grace Rippee said. “At Bonfire, for example, there’s a bonfire after and we have to get a permit for that. There’s also not a parade like there is for Homecoming.”
Along with the absence of bigger events accompanying the assembly, Spirit Club had high hopes for the evening because it was an after-school event as opposed to during the school day.
“The people who come to NSLN want to be there,” Rippee said. “During the school day, you’re kind of forced to go to the assembly. We thought they would have more of an open mind.”
The Spirit Club executive board saw the night as an overall success, and may use the same all-school theme format in the future.
“I think the one theme went well because you’re judged more on class hype, which I think is more important than dress,” Rippee said. “Some people can’t afford to go out and get a costume, and sometimes the themes get tricky. It was good that we tried out the one theme because I can see that playing out in the future with other assemblies.”
Spirit Club experimented with new ideas for Not-So-Late-Night, which meant more extensive planning than usual.
“We bought 1,300 glow sticks,” Rippee said. “We had to organize them because they didn’t come sorted, so we did that for a class period. We had to get it approved with Springfield that the lights could be off in the gym. Then, we came in before school to do a run-through to make sure it actually got dark in the gym.”
Earlier this year, Spirit Club also introduced a new way for judges to be chosen, in which each class still chooses one teacher, but the chosen teacher does not know which grade nominated them.
“I don’t feel as pressured to vouch for a certain grade, especially if I didn’t know what grade nominated me,” Ojeda said. “I just get to watch everyone across the board.”
Other preparation for Not-So-Late-Night was more routine for the executive board members, who also put together the Bonfire, Homecoming and Sweetheart assemblies. For this reason, Rippee expected the new format to run smoothly since Spirit Club spends all year on the events.
“I wasn’t stressed about it,” Rippee said. “I think it went pretty well. I think I would’ve liked to see a bigger turnout, which we’ll work on for next year. Overall, I liked the spirit that it brought.”