Elizabeth Khludenev ‘23
Getting out of the car and opening the front door of Hearst, imagine walking into the building and immediately hearing muffled music coming from the dining hall below. Making it downstairs, “Party in the USA” grows louder and louder as your eyes land on a sea of teenage girls screaming Miley Cyrus at eight in the morning on a random Friday in September, a yearly occurrence if you go to National Cathedral School. Dropping your bag, which contains nothing but an extra tub of face glitter and your water bottle, you enter the scene. Covering every person head-to-toe in anything and everything purple and gold, accessories range from vibrant face paint, plastic bead necklaces, and wigs, to full-on body suits and the occasional huge inflatable costume.
By the time the final pop song ends, half the crowd has already lost their voice, and the day has officially begun. The first festivity is the glorious tradition of the scavenger hunt. As blatantly boring and dull trekking around campus would be on a regular day, spirit day transforms it into a thrilling competition with groups of purple and gold tutus running up and down Hearst staircases hunting for the next clue or laying on the front lawn trying to spell out words using their bodies. Later on, comes the symbolic cross-Woodley scream-off, where each team claims their side of the road and unites in screaming chants as loud as humanly possible to the other side. They tend to consist of nuanced and complex ideas such as “G-O-L-D THAT’S HOW WE SPELL VICTORY” or “PURPLE’S THE COLOR OF ROYALTY, GOLD IS THE COLOR OF ELEPHANT PEE.” Nevertheless, you believe they get the point across. After that, the entire upper school shuffles down Woodley road and crams into Schifter Court to witness the ever-creative entrance of both teams’ captains, who, between hoverboards and unicycles, find a new method of transportation into the gym every year without fail. Finally, after screaming for another good forty-five minutes, my favorite part of the day finally begins. Indeed, shaving-cream twister and musical chairs are a true staple in spirit day tradition. Chairs fly into the turf the second the music stops, each opponent hanging on to make it to the next round, messy twister mats sprawl out with teams cheering their players on, notoriously hogged cans of shaving cream point like weapons as people chase each other around the field; the scene is a marvelous chaos. The day draws to a close with homeroom skits and a talent show, bringing its usual batch of singing, dancing, and of course the new addition of tiktoking. The lights go off and the whole gym gets quiet, before exploding with cheers and applause as the senior video reveals the theme for the year, not only assigning the senior class their own unique identity but providing the theme for homecoming and carrying the excitement into the weekend. By the end of it all, the entire student body walks away from the day drained, tired, but most importantly unified.
I think it might be safe to say that NCS students go all-out on spirit day. Whether it be the classic grade-wide dodgeball game, or the captains’ slightly passive aggressive (yet extremely hype) emails the night before, spirit day always serves to unite both teams and challenge them to a healthy competition. NCS students get the chance to take their minds off of schoolwork (an extremely rare occurrence) and just have fun together. Spirit day truly evokes a sense of sisterhood and unity across all grades and friend groups, making it without question one of the best days of the school year.