What Spirit Means to This Year’s Spirit Masters

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Rosemary Avila, Reporter

We have been social distancing for six months, the monumental 2020 election is around the corner, and we are still dealing with devastating fires and power outages. Needless to say, it can be hard to find time for laughter and spirit, but there are two people in our community who are devoted to ensuring just that: our Spirit Masters– leaders who organize the School’s spirit events. I had the pleasure of sitting down with senior Spirit Masters Sophie Coutu and Loucas Xenakis for an illuminating conversation on what spirit means to them and how it can build bridges during these divided times. 

When Coutu and Xenakis met in eighth grade, they immediately bonded over their love of being goofy. For Xenakis, as a new student, spirit was a way of “starting conversations with people [that he] would never have had otherwise.” He said spirit is a way to remove yourself from the serious mundanity of school life. Likewise, Coutu specified that dressing up at spirit events helped her get out of her shell, adding, “I want to create more opportunities for other people.” 

Coutu and Xenakis have been members of the Spirit Committee, a collection of spirited students who contribute event ideas, since ninth grade, setting their goal to become Spirit Masters early on. Coutu stated that as Spirit Master, she is “trying to bring fun to a community that sometimes feels a little stressful [and] to be as inclusive with spirit as [she] can.” 

Unfortunately, this year is not what anyone was expecting. After being elected, Coutu and Xenakis had to address the impact COVID-19 would have on their work and goals. Xenakis said “[We] have to be more interactive [and] proactive,” but the biggest difficulty is “organizing events around people’s schedules.”

Despite having to reinvent the wheel, a blank slate does present opportunities. Coutu expressed excitement that spirit will be more continuous throughout the year. For example, this year’s Halloween Spirit Week is a new addition. In the past, we have only had one or two Halloween spirit days.  

Xenakis added that with “everyone on screens, people are going to be more excited to have a little bit of change.” He added that they now have the ability to include the entire kindergarten through twelfth grade community, as opposed to orchestrating high-school-only spirit events like Spirit Masters traditionally do. 

As a preview, Coutu and Xenakis teased some of their favorite ideas. They are  exploring drive-in movies for upperclassmen with cars and picnic movies for underclassmen. Also, online scavenger hunts and contests like those during this Halloween Spirit Week, and adding more teacher appreciation events. Coutu and Xenakis are meeting every week to brainstorm and refine ideas. 

With so much happening globally and in our community, finding time to prioritize fun can seem impossible, but maybe spirit is exactly what we need. When asked what spirit could bring to our divided and distanced community, Coutu said, “bringing our community closer is our job as Spirit Masters, and physically we are just not together, which is definitely a roadblock.” She continued, saying, “We are doing our best to bring a sense of joy…. Community rests upon [its] building blocks, so if we can build a community based on joy, inclusivity, and real connections and relationships, then we have met our goal.” Xenakis joined in, saying, “There is so much value in conversation, and the way we have organized spirit events is going to encourage that.” 

As we continue to battle through these difficult months, we can bring a sense of togetherness and joy with us. Xenakis ended by saying, “It is really great that Sophie and I have the opportunity to create the community and unity and conversations just through fun and costume.”