Spirit Week 2021: Pandemic Edition

Nanuet is known for having one of the most fun and competitive Spirit Weeks in the county. Just because this year was a little different, that didn’t stop the school from making the best out of the situation. 

Nanuet found new alternatives to work with Covid safety precautions, and we can all agree that it was a success. 

Spirit Week is coordinated and run each year by Nanuet’s very own Mrs. Panker of the math department. According to her, the planning process this year looked quite different compared to prior years. 

“Many meetings were held to come up with a plan that could work for the week,” she said. “Athletic competitions and money collections were not done this year due to Covid restrictions.”

Mrs. Panker said that she worked to modify the events so they could be watched remotely.

“Both the academic competition and video [game] competition were live streamed so that the classmates and family members of the participants could watch the competitions,” she explained. “Only students competing in the events were permitted to be in the building. 

For the hallway competition, students had two days to decorate their hallway to accommodate students from both cohorts, according to Mrs. Panker. 

“Students participated in limited numbers by cohort,” she said. “We also eliminated the point system. There were winners for the various events but no points and no ultimate winner.  All events were done for pride in your grade.”

Spirit Week ran smoothly this year, even under tough circumstances. Mrs. Panker added that she was very impressed with the turnout of both participants and viewers.

“Students were appreciative of having a spirit week and the events that we were permitted to have during this global pandemic,” she said. “There were many students and family members that tuned in to see the competitions. I would say about 100 each per every competition.”

Despite the restrictions and changes to Spirit Week this year, Mrs. Panker added that she also really enjoyed some of the new aspects.

“I liked the no points change, as well as the two days for hallway decorating,” She said. “No instructional time was taken away during this year’s spirit week. Teachers and students enjoyed the week and adjusted nicely to this new format.” 

Evelyn Calle, the Freshman class president, recapped spirit week with many positive things to say.  

“It was definitely exciting and also a bit hard,” she said. “For example, the hallway was a bit difficult since we weren’t sure how to organize it. And we also didn’t make things beforehand which we should have done since it was smarter. Other than that, I believe Spirit Week was a success.” 

Now that the Freshmen have experienced their first high school Spirit Week, they now have high hopes for the following years, Calle said, adding that she has goals and visions already for the remaining years of high school.

 “I hope next year we are able to do more fundraising and be able to do Spirit Week more fluently,” she said. “I also hope our grade’s communication will be more efficient.” 

Communication restrictions made things challenging this year, according to Calle. 

In the future, we will definitely try to communicate more with each other,” she said. “With Covid and everything, emails and texts were the only easy option to communicate, however, not everyone had the chance to respond on time.” 

Leah Swanwick, who is a Sophomore class representative, also enjoyed Spirit week this year. She expressed there were some challenges, but nothing they couldn’t overcome.

“It was definitely different and I’m sure a lot of kids weren’t up for the idea,” she said, “but due to Covid, that was the only way we could really do it, and I think it turned out great. Everyone’s hallways were really unique and cool and I think that’s something everyone enjoyed doing.” 

Junior Brendan Bennett explained that he thought Spirit Week was just as fun as previous years. According to Bennett, there were some obvious differences, but that didn’t take away for the overall experience.

“This year, I definitely took away the fact that Nanuet cares about their students,” he said. “And my fellow classmates always love to get involved the best they can. All of the competitions were watched through zoom, which I think was a good way to watch our classmates compete without the risk of being unsafe.” 

Overall, Brendan said he was proud of the Junior class effort that week.

 “My grade did a good job doing our best for the events that we could participate in and still putting in lots of effort, even though it was online,” he said.