SPIRIT WEEK EDITION 1
Westminster Christian Academy
MANAGING EDITOR IN CHIEF ISABELLA FRANCOIS,
CONTENT EDITOR IN CHIEF AVA BIDNER, SENIOR
SPORTING WCA EDITOR TOMMY BRINER, SENIOR
DESIGN EDITOR LEA DESPOTIS, SENIOR
MEDIA EDITOR NATALIE FORD , SENIOR
NEWS EDITOR GRACE SKILJAN, SENIOR 2 STAFF
STUDENTS SERVING STUDENTS
FEATURE EDITOR REBEKAH SEMS, SENIOR OPINION EDITOR AVA HOLLMANN, SENIOR
800 SPORTING ONLINE EDITOR & PODCAST HOST BENNIE ANDERSON , SENIOR 800 SPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS EDITOR PEARSON GEORGES, SENIOR
800 SPORTING STAFF WRITER & PODCAST HOST KOBY SCHMER, SENIOR
THE 800 STAFF WRITERS EMMA HARRIS • BROOKE HIGHMARK • MAGGIE LINDSTROM • JACK MARTIN • CALEB MOELLENHOFF • AIDAN PENBERTHY • LAURYN RHODES
RESULTS SENIORS WIN! PG. 6-7 FILM PROJECT PG. 8 ART HALLWAYS PG. 9 BOYS’ POMS PG. 10-11 LIP SYNC PG. 12-13
TUG O’ WAR RECAP TUG O’ WAR RECAP PG. 14 TUG O’ WAR VIDEO PG. 15
HISTORY OF SPIRIT WEEK PG. 16-17 SPIRIT WEEK AT OTHER SCHOOLS PG. 19
CLASS SHIRTS PG. 18 ART BOARD/HALLWAYS PG. 20 SPIRIT WEEK SATIRE PG. 21
STAFF ED BY AVA BIDNER
SPIRIT WEEK 2020 We hope you enjoy this special Spirit Week edition of 800 News: The Wildcat Roar! With stories featuring the history of this Westminster tradition, winners of lip sync, boysâ€™ poms, ďŹ lm project, and art board/hallways, past class t-shirts, and more, we hope we have captured the spirit and joy of this amazing week! We also hope that Westminster students, teachers, staff, and community members will look back at this issue in many years and remember Spirit Week 2020 and reminisce about all of the incredible memories and traditions. Please share this issue with your friends and family and anyone in the WCA community! GO CATS!
STAFF ED 5
WINNER OF SPIRIT WEEK
SENIORS RESULTS 7
FILM PROJECT RESULTS 1ST: The Bonabards
2ND: The Midnight Exursion
3RD: 100 Thing to Do Before College
5th: Middle School RESULTS 9
1st JUNIORS SOPHOMORES
1st SENIORS FRESHMAN
SOPHOMORE BOYS BEAT SENIOR BOYS IN A SHOCKING TUG O’ WAR UPSET
ISABELLA FRANCOIS Managing Editor-in-Chief
During the Tuesday Spirit Week Assembly, the 10th and 12th grade boys faced off in a consultation round of tug o’ war, with the whole school watching in anticipation. The senior boys were the favorite to win, with a team consisting of lineman and Yale commit Bennie Anderson, basketball star and all-around athlete Brennan Orf, and anchored by powerhouse Ben Cheregi. The game started off an equal match, with the rope barely moving toward either side. However, the senior team slowly began to fade, with the anchor Cheregi slipping. “Tug O War has never really been the senior class’s strong suit and it was deﬁnitely embarrassing to lose to the underclassmen,” said Bennie Anderson, senior member of the team. The sophomores, led by LJ Minner, Jack Villa, and anchored by Sterling Webb, took advantage of their fatigue and surged ahead, claiming victory.
“We were the better team at the end of the day,” said LJ Minner. It was an amazing upset for the sophomores and really brought their grade together for the rest of Spirit Week, eventually landing them a second place ﬁnish overall, ahead of the juniors.
Sophomore Jack Villa helped lead the tug o war team to victory. Photo by: The Foundation Yearbook
14 TUG O’ WAR
“We knew it was possible to beat the seniors but obviously it was going to be hard. However, we have some big boys in our grade and we ended up winning which was pretty cool,” said Jack Villa, a sophomore member of the tug o war team.
TUG Oâ€™ WAR 15
THE STORY OF SPIRIT WEEK
Taking a look at the origin of Spirit Week and its lasting signiﬁcance to WCA AVA BIDNER
Content Editor-in-Chief Seas of each color of the rainbow, students decked from head to toe in their class color, paint and glitter adorning their faces. Hours upon hours spent during late nights in the Arena and blue gym, practicing Lip Sync and Boys’ Poms until every move is perfected. Hallways and Art Boards are decorated so as to defend the pride of each respective class. Riding
surfers glide across the Arena ﬂoor with the help of their classmates who manage to keep the mattresses aﬂoat. The Spirit Stick is fought for by each bold costume-wearer, and even teachers join their students in the inevitable excitement of the dress-up days. And of course, the Big Night, where the victorious class gains eternal brag-
Clayton Francois on his motorcycle during the ﬁrst unofﬁcial WCA Spirit Week. He rode his motorcycle through the school. Photo by: WCA Yearbook 1977-78 piggyback or sitting upon each other’s shoulders, the seniors enter the Arena, hearing the familiar lyrics of their walk-in song blast from the speakers as the rest of the school honors their seniority. Class ﬂags are waved with passion and ferocity as the rowdy boys of each grade stand in front and lead their classmates in cheers of “We’ve got spirit, yes we do! We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?” Girls and boys from each grade toss a stuffed chicken around the gym as if their lives depend on it, and mattress
16 HISTORY OF SPIRIT WEEK
ging rights, sings “We Are the Champions” at the top of their lungs, and earns a chance to hold (and even kiss) the coveted plaque. This is Spirit Week. Westminster’s greatest tradition and the most anticipated week of every school year. For most Westminster students, and even many teachers, Spirit Week is simply an aspect (and a major one at that) of culture at WCA that seems to be so deeply ingrained in the school that most cannot even imagine Westminster without it.
But, Spirit Week at Westminster has a unique origin story, like most traditions do, and it has taken the contributions of thousands of alumni, current students, teachers, and faculty members (past and present) to arrive at the Spirit Week we know and love today. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore how Spirit Week ﬁrst began and how it has evolved over the years. “Spirit Week began at the suggestion of Sue Tameling, who was a PE teacher here for many years. She had gone to a school in Michigan which had a similar week, and she thought that WCA needed a midwinter boost to give the students something fun and exciting to get through the bleak months of January and February. The ﬁrst year was either 1988 or 1989. Lip Sync and Boys’ Poms were part of the week from the very beginning, but Lip Sync was really different. Only a few kids would be in it, and they would not choreograph it like everyone does now. Instead, a few students would do something like a Beach Boy or Beatles medley and act like they were playing the guitar or the drums. So, it was simple, small and not the production it is now,” said Dr. Scott Holley, upper school English teacher, who has been involved in the Westminster community since its founding in 1976 and has witnessed almost every Spirit Week. As Holley explained, Spirit Week has been an essential piece of Westminster life in January/February for over 30 years now. According to the Westminster website, “Spirit Week 2020 will mark the 31st year of a tradition that is arguably the highlight of the year for the Westminster community!” This would mean the ﬁrst ofﬁcial Spirit Week began in 1989 with the help of Elizabeth Lewis, former WCA French teacher and mother of Lizzie Vogel, WCA art teacher and 90’ alumni. However, according to Curtis Francois, father of current WCA students Isabella Francois, senior, and CJ Francois, eighth grader, Spirit Week technically began during his second year (1977-
1978) at Westminster, and this ﬁrst year took place with only about nine teachers and 70 students involved. “Today, it is a much larger event. We were all so close back then, and so there wasn’t as much class rivalry. We were just all happy to be together and have fun,” said Francois. Both Francois and Holley were eager to share some of their favorite memories and the most unforgettable moments from past Spirit Weeks. Although these events may have occurred decades ago, they will continue to live on in the memories (and yearbooks) of members of the WCA community, proving how signiﬁcant Spirit Week has been to WCA from the very beginning. “We had a 50s themed day and my brother (Clayton Francois) rode his motorcycle through the halls of Westminster. My brother Clayton also made a scooter for my favorite teacher Mr. John Boles to ride in the hallway which was hilarious,” shared Francois. Holley also explained his favorite aspect of the week: “The best part is simply seeing how pumped the whole student body gets for the competition. It is hard to believe that such silly games become bigger than the Olympic Games for one week.” There’s no denying Holley is right about the stakes of Spirit Week, especially for the seniors. As alumni have shown, these memories will not fade quickly, and they may end up being some of the most momentous events of all of high school. Of course, every senior’s goal is to end their ﬁnal day of Spirit Week with a victory, a moment of triumph that uniﬁes their class for the remainder of their high school careers. Holley described what Spirit Week represents at Westminster: “It is an opportunity to step back from the academic pace of the school year and just have fun. Kids can be goofy, kids make friends with people they typically do not associate with, kids get to exercise talents that usually go unrecognized at school, and the whole school gets to celebrate crazy,
loony, zany fun. When adults look back on their years at Westminster, they are not going to remember what went on in most of their classes; they will remember being part of Boys’ Poms or Lip Sync. And the senior classes that did not win Spirit Week will never forget that!”
games to Lip Sync practices to extravagant art displays, Spirit Week has only seemed to grow and improve overtime.
“Kids do Art Boards now, but at the old campus students decorated entire hallways with really elaborate themed artwork. That wasn’t supposed to be in the mix, but Thankfully, the seniors this year will the senior class the ﬁrst year got so into the not live on in infamy for losing Spirit excitement of the week that they spontaneousWeek. Instead, the class of 2020’s name ly decorated their hallway in blue and white will occupy a permanent spot on the for Friday of Spirit Week, and that gave the plaque, and as Holley claimed, we will sponsors the idea to make that part of the week be sure not to forget this victory. from then on,” said Holley, explaining how Art Boards ﬁrst originated. But beyond the class rivalries, even between the juniors and seniors, Spirit Compared to other schools, WCA’s Spirit Week Week remains a time of unity and cele- just seems to have a little more pep. No one is bration of overall school spirit. For one “too cool” to participate, everyone wants to be week, school, homework, athletics, and involved, and there is truly an opportunity for extracurriculars take a step to the side every student to partake in. to allow community-building and quality time together as a school to take the “I can’t say for sure, but from what I hear, forefront. There’s no other time in the WCA is unique in how many students engage in year where alumni of all ages become Spirit Week. We have an incredibly high rate of so deeply involved again and where the participation in our dress-up days, and we have entire school gathers together daily in so many participants in our big events. Someelaborate displays of spirit and passion. times it looks like the whole class is out on the ﬂoor for Boys’ Poms and Lip Sync,” Woodall commented.
“My favorite part of Spirit Week is always Community Senior Alyssa Legters agreed and shared her own thoughts on Spirit Week from the perspecNight because all competition tive of a teacher’s daughter and a student who gets pushed aside and the en- was involved in the week long before attending WCA: “I think Spirit Week to WCA means a tire community comes togeth- time when the community comes together to each other in their different interests, er to see the amazing talent of support and it is a time where people’s passions such as students 7-12. It’s so ﬁlled with ﬁlm and dancing can shine rather than the usual spotlight on academics or athletics. Also, it’s a joy and great entertainment,” way for the different grades to come together said Ashley Woodall, assistant and compete in a way that is totally unique.” director of student life who Spirit Week 2020 has come to a close, but this tradition continues to live on has been at WCA since 2002, fortunately, and will undoubtedly thrive for decades in the participating in 18 Spirit Weeks future. The games and events may evolve, but the heart of the week will always remain the in total. same: ﬂourishing school spirit through unifying
Over the years, Spirit Week has certainly evolved, transforming from a small school celebration to a community-wide tradition. From wacky
grade levels and encouraging students to explore their interests and dive passionately into the competition.
HISTORY OF SPIRIT WEEK 17
SPIRIT WEEK CLASS SHIRTS THROUGH THE YEARS BY MAGGIE LINDSTROM
Class t-shirts are worn during the ﬁrst of the ﬁve dress-up days in Spirit Week. Through the years, they have sported many different colors and designs. Some colors have been retired over the years, such as yellow and brown. The usual tradition for class color distribution is blue for seniors, pink for juniors, purple for sophomores, then red, green, and orange. In all, not only do class shirts unify each individual class, but also, the school as a whole.
The eighth grade class t-shirt said, “BE BOLD, be brave, be you.” Also, at this time, most class t-shirts had all the students names on the back.
The seventh grade t-shirt depicted a warning sign of something ahead.
The tenth grade t-shirt included hands spelling out the number ten on the back.
The twelfth grade t-shirt played off one of the most popular drinks of 2010: Monster Energy drinks.
The ninth grade did a play off of American Eagle’s classic style (below). They also put their class roster on the back. The junior class was a bit proud, so they put on the The eleventh grade t-shirt was brown, and in conjunction with this color, a chocolate bar with their class roster was placed on back how they were a big deal (pictured on next page). the back. The ninth grade t-shirt was neon yellow and, ﬁttingly, had a lemon on the front, with the caption “So Fresh.”
18 CLASS SHIRTS
SPIRIT WEEK Q&A ISABELLA FRANCOIS Editor In Chief
While Westminster students are ﬂocking to Spirit Week, but it’s just dress up days, no lip sync... and we Party City, posting countless Instagram pictures, and function- have multiple dress up days throughout the year (ﬁrst game, ing on only a few hours of sleep during Spirit Week, other high Homecoming, senior week, etc.).” school students just view it as any other week. So, I interviewed students from other high schools around the St. Louis Q) Do you think that we’re crazy or that Spirit area to see what they really think about our Spirit Week.
Week is too over-the-top?
Q) Off the top of your head, if I were to ask you Michael Dee, SLUH Senior: “No! I think it’s cool and makes you what Westminster’s Spirit Week is, what would really invested in school spirit.” you say?
Paul Villa, Priory Senior: “I think that it’s fun, but I am not spending any money or spending hours painting jeans or somebig basketball game by dressing in a new theme every day and thing. If I see people posting on Instagram about their insane by having events to spur school spirit.” Spirit Week outﬁts, it has gone too far.” Paul Villa, Priory Senior: “A week where students prepare for a
Weston McGuire, Parkway West Senior: “It’s very intense.”
Weston McGuire, Parkway West Senior: “I think that when kids are getting detained or when there’s police reports on the Samantha VanEssendelft, Parkway South Senior: “Oh my!!” dean’s desk, yeah it’s too intense.”
Q) Do you have something similar at your school? Michael Dee, SLUH Senior: “Kind of, but it isn’t as fun or class
Samantha VanEssendelft, Parkway South Senior: “I think Spirit Week is over the top, but it’s still fun if everyone is into it!”
Q) Be honest, have you ever been jealous of Spirit Week at Westminster?
Paul Villa, Priory Senior: “Yes, but it is for Homecoming. On Paul Villa, Priory Senior: “If I have a test or something and I see
special occasions we will have themed dress up days for sports you all having fun, I might be a little bit jealous, but if we had our version of Spirit Week at the same time then I wouldn’t be such as hockey, but at an all-boys school people take it way less seriously. We have it and people dress up for it, but no one jealous.” buys stuff for it, and a lot of people just use it as an excuse to be out of dress code.” Weston McGuire, Parkway West Senior: “No.”
Weston McGuire, Parkway West Senior: “No, we have a Spir- Samantha VanEssendelft, Parkway South Senior: “Sometimes it Week, but it’s not nearly as intense as Westminster’s.”
I’m jealous, but I know it would stress me out way too much so I’m not extremely jealous.”
Samantha VanEssendelft, Parkway South Senior: “We have
SPIRIT WEEK Q&A 19
BOARDS TO HALLS
This year Westminster replaced Art Board with hallways to make the event even more fun and a bigger deal for grades
REBEKAH SEMS Feature Editor
Westminster has evolved and changed over the years as any and all schools do and should. Some people embrace and actively seek out those changes while others wish the old could always stay. One such change this year is hallways in place of Art Board for Spirit Week. The Spirit Week Committee, run by STUCO, proposed this change to Spirit Week in order to make Art Board bigger and hopefully better. The idea was met with eager enthusiasm from the STUCO committee and a proposal was drafted by senior Kinsley Lawerence and Ashley Woodall, assistant director of student life. While originally the hope was that the entire hallways of each grade would be decorated, the material of the walls in the hallways would be ruined by tape and/or any other materials normally used during Art Board. The consensus then was to use the hallway between the theatre and the eighth grade stairs because one side of the wall is made of stone and therefore, is able to handle tape.
“We wanted to make Art Board more of a big deal so we thought it would be fun to make it cover the entire hallway leading to the Arena. That way on Community Night the parents and guests get to walk through it while they wait to get their seats, and the Art Board will surround them on all sides rather than just being contained on the board,” said Lawrence. This is not the ﬁrst time that hallways have been a part of Westminster’s history. In fact, at the old campus in Ladue, grades would decorate their entire hallways as their Art
The seniors pose in front of their hallway, which was occupation themed. Photo by: Natalie Ford Board and would get points awarded to them for whichever grade had the best decorations. “They switched to Art Boards instead of hallways when we came to this campus because of the walls here. I think that they still wanted to keep the aspect of art in Spirit Week, so they thought Art Board would be a good alternative, and it was for awhile, but this year we thought it’d be more fun to make it bigger,” said Lawrence. While it may seem like it would have been even more fun to decorate the hallways of each grade, due to the material of the walls, only the commons and lockers could be decorated which would make it more difﬁcult than fun for everyone. Therefore, the hallway leading to the Arena was divided into ﬁve sections with each grade (middle school combined) having a section dedicated to their Art Board theme. The themes for hallways correlated with each grade’s group theme on Wednesday. The middle school’s theme was heroes, freshmen had decades, sophomores were safari, juniors had childhood, and seniors had occupations. In order to have hallways ﬁnished for parents and guests to see for Community Night, Art Board was supposed to be ﬁnished for each grade by Wednesday. Hallways replacing Art Board seems like it will be here for awhile as STUCO and the administration fully agree and support the idea. Parents and guests get to enjoy the art more as they walk through the hallway leading to the Arena and fully experience the hard work and dedication of the artists and all those who contributed. The winners of this year’s Art Board was announced on Friday evening after the boys’ varsity basketball game during the Big Night. Sophomores won ﬁrst place, followed by the juniors and middle school.
Spirit Week from the *satirical* perspective of the senior class
AVA HOLLMANN Opinion Editor
Upon entrance to the gym, we mock the TP incident with police siren audio and fake cops “catching” TPers. Somehow, we don’t get in trouble. Soon enough, it’s time for Film Project, and surprisingly, our ﬁlm looks like it may be in contention for a place besides last. Excitement emanates through the air, and until the end of the rally, we ride high on it. When it ends, though, we are brought back down to earth by the unfortunate state of our Art Board. With the help of what seems like an army, the job gets done in a few hours. This, unlike the suggestions given at recent lectures, was a true show of unity. Day Four is here, and we’re lookin’ cute. For the fourth day in a row, though, the juniors pull up in the commons with some #sway, yet we stand around aimlessly. Shameful. In the arena, we ﬁnish victorious in women’s tug of war and ultimate chicken, and put on a surprisingly presentable Film Project. Things are looking up for us.
Now… for the ﬁnal day. We show up in chilly excitement to the parking lot for a tailgate, where girls are in a ﬂurry of picture-taking and boys are jumping on a truck bed. Our party is busted, though, when Mr. Pederson beckons us into the school. The senior class on Class Color Day. Photo by: Mike Rohlﬁng Little does he know, however, that a good chunk of us will be It’s the last ﬁrst day of the best week of our lives. The time for attending the rager of the century later tonight (the writer of this talking is over. And war, WAR, is upon us. story will not be, but that’s irrelevant). Upon arrival at the parking lot, we are perplexed to see a mass of pink. Tailgate parties are strictly reserved for the seniors, as written in Section 15 of the Spirit Week Constitution. Still, we saunter into our side of the junior/senior commons, gathering to jam out to some bops from Riley Merriﬁeld’s night-clubdegree speaker. Right before the bell of ﬁrst period sounds, however, a throng of juniors gather in their allotted side of the commons, and begin to chant and sway in a huddle. We look around for our revered Blue Crew leader Henry Hartshorn, or just a football player, to rile us up, but no one takes the lead. The bell rings, and we are insanely ﬁred up to beat their display of spirit during the assembly. When the time has ﬁnally come to assemble in the Arena, we jostle and jeer, jump and jive as a united sea of blue. In tag royale and chariot relay, we reign victorious. Day Two has come, and a ﬁne sea of country hicks and club chicks ﬁlls the commons. Unfortunately, the juniors pull the same stunt as Monday, and we can only stare at them. Once we enter the arena, we ARE Wildcat Country. The games begin, and we win women’s tug of war, junk relay, and mathletes VS athletes. Though we lose to the sophomores in men’s tug of war, we recover by yelling TP chants at the juniors. Day Three has begun, and once again we have been upstaged by the juniors in the commons before school. Morale is looking grim as our pride is attacked once again. This is our house, but we aren’t acting like it. Time to take it to the court.
At 2:10, we swarm the arena. The Lip Sync performances of the grades below us proceed, and we’re pleasantly surprised at the talent of the freshman routine. The junior routine restores our conﬁdence, however, that we will win, if not at least beat the juniors… or will it? When the announcements of the top two of each event are named, we ﬁnd ourselves neck-and-neck with the juniors in Boys’ Poms and Lip Sync. After the assembly ceases, the event with the most anticipation has arrived: the Big Night. In the bleachers, we rally for senior players like Brennan Orf, Zach Benes, Bennie Anderson, and Matthew George. As the second half of the game begins, the girls and guys in the big events scurry out to make their costume changes. The game buzzer sounds, and just as the basketball Cats were victorious over JBS, so shall we also beat the juniors. Several solid performances later, we crowd the gym ﬂoor to hear the results. The initial news of winning Boys’ Poms comes as a bit of a shock, but is welcomed nonetheless. But then… panic hits. The Lip Sync winner is crowned on those undeserving surfer and biker heads of the juniors. Literal tears are shed. Fortunately, our announcement as the overall winner dries up the tear ducts, and even more so, the announcement of the juniors falling in third place behind the sophomores. **cringe**. And so concludes Spirit Week 2020. Though many shenanigans ensued afterwards, and the group chat will eventually be revered as a historic document, the seniors delivered big this week. Hopefully, that energy will be kept up for the remaining three months of high school (lol).
2020 SPIRIT STICK WINNERS ISABELLA FRANCOIS Managing Editor-in-Chief
Lane Davis and Jack Bystrom
Shelby Truitt and Tyler Smith
Lane Davis and Jack Bystrom, both seniors, won the Spirit Stick on Country vs. Country Club Day with their golf caddy costumes. Both Davis and Bystrom fully committed to their costumes by carrying around golf bags all day and celebrated their win by putting the Spirit Stick in Davis’ golf bag.
For Group Theme Day, senior Sophia Mullen won the Spirit Stick with her Ms. Frizzle costume from “The Magic School Bus” because the seniors’ theme was occupations. Mullen’s costume was super creative and took at lot of time and effort to make which made her win even more sweet. I loved “The Magic School Bus” as a kid so Mullen’s costume was deﬁnitely one of my favorites.
Disney Day was a favorite among WCA students, and freshmen Shelby Truitt and Tyler Smith won the Spirit Stick with their Up themed costumes. Truitt was the classic house complete with colorful balloons, and Smith dressed up as Russell. Like Mullen, Truitt made her own costume, and her creativity deﬁnitely shined through.
For Class Color Day, Ellen Rose, sophomore, dressed up as a Purple People Eater from the 1988 comedy and science ﬁction ﬁlm Purple People Eater. With the sophomores’ class color of purple, this was deﬁnitely a memorable and bold choice that deserved the Spirit Stick.
The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy St. Louis, MO