Sunday, December 28, 2014

What is Spirit Week?

What is Spirit Week?

The Middle School dedicates five school days every year to Spirit Week during which student leaders plan contests and games to raise funds in support of our service relationships. With these funds, we are able to contribute materials to the already strong and enduring relational exchanges we have with Martin's preschool, Meridian's memory care unit, St. Elizabeth's sandwich line, and the communities of Cochiti, New Mexico and Ollantaytambo, Peru. This year, Spirit Week begins on Friday, January 16 and culminates on Friday, January 23.

But, Spirit Week is so much more than a fundraising event; it's about students practicing leadership in its many forms, communicating purpose to inspire action and building camaraderie in community. 

Leadership opportunities abound before and during this week, not only for the Loretto Leadership Council (one student representing each of the 17 Community Action Teams) but for those students who find their passion in organization and community participation. Leadership emerges in those who lead the charge among their grade-level peers in the thematic design and decoration of their pod. Creative leaders, competitive leaders, quiet and loud leaders...a niche exists for the many types among the myriad of activities. 

Opportunities for students to confirm the purpose of the Middle School service relationships occur throughout the week. Each day at the end of recess, students gather in the Commons where that day's contest is presented. During the morning and before the contest begins, students register and pay $2 to play in games of dodgeball, cup-stacking, hula hoop, jump rope.... Before the day's contest begins, student leaders introduce the event by telling a story from a visit to Martin's, Meridian, St. Elizabeth's, Cochiti or Peru. At the end of the event, the Middle School community seals the experience with a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to serve and be served. 

Spirit Week activities build camaraderie within our Middle School community. 
Each student has an opportunity to contribute during the week in his/her own way by entering contests, contributing coins, telling a service story or adding a thematic decoration to the pod. Whether it's the bold student who enters every contest and sometimes more than once in a given contest or the student who quietly engages in the activities as part of the audience, the common experience and togetherness unify us in laughter and purpose. 

The culminating afternoon, this year Friday, January 23, after judges have assessed the pod decorations, the number of contestants per grade have been tallied and all sorts of points have been calculated, the grade-level with the most points is awarded the Spirit Award. In the next week, the coins and bills collected in the coin war are counted and the Coin Award is announced. But, long after Spirit Week itself has ended and winners have been announced, the funds, learned leadership, service relationships and community connections endure.