Middle School Spirit Week is a fun and exciting time of recognition, and a time to put UWC’s message for peace and sustainability front and centre. During these few days in the last term of the academic year, all Middle School Global Concerns (GCs) come together to host many different activities and fundraisers, in order to raise money and awareness for the organisations they work with. The week is planned and organised by the Middle School Global Concerns Executive, a group of students who work to support and develop the GC programme in the Middle School.
One element of the planning for Spirit Week involves identifying relevant themes. This year, we had one day fully devoted to focusing on important environmental issues, which we named Ecosystems in Danger. We also had a day spent highlighting the inequalities of society, referred to as Financial Inequality day. Both days had theme related activities, such as presentations and online quizzes, as well as games, bake sales, doodle walls and more, in which students were able to participate during class, break and lunch times. As a Middle School, we looked beyond our privileged world to seek a more holistic perspective regarding issues affecting the world.
Despite the positive publicity that Spirit Week received, many are unaware of the effort that is taken to make this annual tradition a success. Many people do not realise the work that went in to raise awareness amongst the small but positive community of UWCSEA Middle School. Although it was sometimes stressful and required great determination, we persevered with the knowledge that we could make a change for the greater good of our community.
As soon as we started, we were faced with the dilemma of choosing two significant issues that were appropriate for the Middle School community. We spent a large amount of time prioritiszing themes that were also directly connected to our global concerns. Other big factors include the response from the Middle School community, and the possible mufti themes. As with every event, there was both positive and negative response from our peers, who were open to share their views on the themes. We took them into consideration and are currently gathering feedback to try and improve Spirit Week next year, in order to make it even more exciting and engaging for the Middle School next year.
After deciding upon the themes, we still had plenty of work to do. As mentioned, we needed to announce the themes to our peers, which we did by planning and presenting in assemblies. These took time to prepare and also took courage to go up and talk in front of 300 people, but we pushed through and managed to share this information successfully with the greater Middle School Community. Then came the activities. We created informative and interactive learning activities for Advisory Groups and also created information displays and activities for lunch time in the Tent Plaza took work to plan out, and it was challenging to make One of the challenges with faced was making activities that were simple enough to run, yet fun and engaging for all audiences at the same time. We also needed to ensure our activities did not interfere with the plans of other GCs., Another aspect of our role was communicating with teachers, our fellow classmates, and the Facilities Team. Furthermore, we also needed to make our own posters and signs for our activities, and make everything clear for the participants in the week that lay ahead of us.
All the things that needed to be done took a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we often found ourselves struggling to meet deadlines and rushing to plan all the little details throughout the week, but through it all, we never forgot our motive: to help people all across the world live a better life. Through events such as Jakarta Street Kids’ basketball shootout and merchandise sale, Tioman Turtles egg hatchery display and bake sale, Waterford Kamhlaba Service Support’s snow cone sale, Environmental Service's vegetarian sausage sizzle and PAW 's slushy sale, we not only raised funds for these crucial causes but also raised spirit within our community. Through the endless hours of baking, arriving at school early to put up posters and spending our lunchtimes helping run Global Concerns stalls, we felt pride in the impact that we were able to make.
Overall, Spirit Week was a week filled with ups and downs, fundraising, and most importantly, fun! We would also like to thank everyone else involved in this long but rewarding process. We would like to thank our school’s Facilities, who have spent endless hours helping to set the Tent Plaza up. We would also like to thank the teachers that have helped plan the activities and organise our GCs, including our Middle School GC Service Leaders, and to Mrs. Ferris, the Middle School GC Coordinator and the teacher running the Middle School Global Concerns Executive, who has been indispensable with her help and ideas throughout our entire Spirit Week journey as students organizing the week. And finally, we would like to thank the students who have participated in Spirit Week’s events and activities, and those who have helped organise them and run them throughout the week. Overall, we considered it to be a great success, and because of everyone’s support, time and passion, we are pleased to announce that we were able to raise $1,603 to be sent out to help all of our Global Concerns Project and hope that next year will be as successful.