Will Sutton

Senior Andre Lavoie (left), boldly embracing “Hawaiian Day”, quietly judges Senior Jeremy Canney (right), who wore a simple sweatshirt and khakis to school.

Will Sutton, Photography Editor

It seems that once every few months, Hingham High students are told to don camouflage, 80s garb, sports jerseys, or some other peculiar paraphernalia for the sake of the Student Council-sponsored Spirit Week. And once ever few months, about half of the school does so, and the other half just sort of… ignores it.

As somebody who has always embraced spirit week, I wanted to catch a glimpse into the minds of those individuals who do the unspeakable and don’t dress up for Spirit Week. My first question was simply, who are these people?

Nonparticipants seem to be random; there is no correlation between gender, grade, or extracurricular interests and not dressing up. These are students wholly unconnected in almost anything except their nonparticipation, which lead me to my next question: why do these students refuse to dress up?

The most universal answer to this question is, quite simply, a lack of materials and time.

As Senior Jeremy Canney explained, “I dress up for Spirit Week when I have the means readily at my house… if I have extra time I’ll run to Savers and see what I can get.” This sentiment was echoed by Junior James Winikoff who characterized Spirit Week preparation as “A conflict between how much time I want to put into school spirit and how much time I actually have.” Winikoff and Canney both emphasized that, when they fail to dress up, it is not out of malicious intent, but rather, as Canney put it, “laziness, or other priorities, like sleep.”

So nonparticipants exist not out of spite, but out of ill preparedness and lack of time. With this in mind, I faced my final question: does it really matter?

According to the Student Council, absolutely. Members hang signs and make announcements to promote the week, and most students have experienced casual social shaming for failing to dress up. And Student Council is not alone in the view that Spirit Week boosts morale and school pride. Sophomore Bennett Donahue, who is not a member of the club, agreed that Spirit Week is “pretty fun,” but stressed that “it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”

Others are not so sure. When I asked Junior Julia Turnak what life would be like if we got rid of Spirit Week, she replied that “for the general school population, I don’t think it would really impact spirit.” Canney agreed, stressing that the week is fun, but certainly not vital for maintaining school spirit.

Now, as I’ve previously disclosed, I am an enthusiastic participant of student week. I consistently dress up, and consistently berate my friends who do not. But at the same time, I understand that all students must decide how they want to spend their time. Maybe spray-dying your hair for “Class Colors Day” takes precedence over a solid eight hours of sleep, and maybe you would rather get that shut-eye. All I know is that, given a chance to wear a costume (maybe even pajamas!)  to school, I am going to take it.