Student-led Spirit Week Raises More Than $2,000 for Community Services Board
Dressing up in wacky outfits on silly themes to raise money for a good cause is a decades’ old tradition at Eastern Mennonite School. This year, the stakes and rewards grew exponentially as K-5 students joined in the “big kids’” fun, raising over $2,000 across grades K-12.
The SCO (Student Council Organization) annually organizes Spirit Week leading up to homecoming weekend as a way to galvanize enthusiasm and raise funds for an important cause.
This year, SCO leadership chose to support the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board (HRCSB). “We wanted to support a cause that’s relevant among our students,” noted SCO president Kerinna Good ‘19. “In the past we’ve raised money for Pennies for Patients because Luke Hertzler ‘16 was diagnosed with leukemia during his time as a student at EMS. Several years down the road, this year’s SCO thought that it was fitting to get fresh input from students. A student suggested mental health, so we decided to support the HRCSB!”
SCO leaders sold baked goods over lunch and after school to raise funds. In addition, a Tuesday lunchtime auction for the right to dress volunteer students and teachers on Friday raised over $1,000. Resulting outfits included:
- Shannon Roth (history and government teacher) dressed by Kendal Bauman (physical education) as Gene Simmons, lead singer of the rock group KISS;
- Music teacher Jared Stutzman dressed top to toe in Penn State garb (he’s not a football sort of guy);
- Middle school history teacher Zach Sauder, dressed by the 7th grade to the tune of $180 in Virginia Tech Hokies gear;
- Larry Martin (sixth grade math and science) as a beekeeper, Susan Melendez (sixth grade social studies and English) as a queen bee, and the sixth graders as bees.
It didn’t take long for the elementary students — sharing the building with grades 6 to 12 this year — to catch on to the fun of Spirit Week. With each day’s themes, they saw the older students and teachers in varied and unusual outfits. Spirit days included dress-like-a-logo on Monday (coordinated with the release of EMS’s new logo), tacky tourist Tuesday, wacky hair and accessories Wednesday, time travel Thursday, and flames Friday.
The right to dress a teacher on Friday drew elementary interest too. When Maria Archer, K-8 principal, heard of their interest in joining the fun, she offered them the opportunity to dress her up with items from the drama closets if they collectively raised $100. The elementary students far surpassed that goal, raising over $300. Second, third, fourth, and fifth graders also earned the right to dress their teachers for exceeding their individual class goals.
The result of the elementary school’s success was a bearded, pig-nosed, be-wigged frumpy principal who was a good sport and wore the outfit all day, even when she led lunchtime prayer.
“This has been a great week,” said long-time SCO sponsor Jennifer Young, physical education and driver education teacher. “Our student leaders never fail to amaze me. They work hard year round, but especially this past week. It was special to see how the whole school — including the elementary students — got on board and just had a lot of fun. It is good to laugh together.”
The SCO launched the week on Monday by helping to reveal the school’s updated logo, part of a brand review process. Their game show featured various popular logo images without text, and a quiz to see who could be first to identify the product. The last logo image revealed the school’s newly revitalized flame. After Friday’s all-school pep rally — where the varsity girls volleyball team handily beat the boys varsity soccer team on the volleyball court — students picked up a t-shirt featuring the new logo.
At their weekly gathering, elementary students learned about the power of a logo by thinking about what comes to mind when they travel at night, are hungry, and see a large yellow “M” in the sky… “McDonald’s!” “French fries” the students exclaimed, making the point that a logo tells a story. And at EMS, our logo tells the story of a caring community of learning.
Spirit Week captured the spirit of the school: of light hearted fun, caring for each other, welcoming the newcomer, and service to others thanks to SCO’s leadership and strong K-12 participation.