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The spirit of Spirit Week endures during distance learning

Members of the Class of 2025 complete trivia questions during Spirit Week. Due to distance learning, 2021 Spirit Week incorporated trivia competitions and dress up days instead of many traditional Spirit Week activities. Photo courtesy of Khanichi Charles

Despite not having its beloved dance competitions and iconic costumes, the essence  of Marlborough’s Spirit Week was revived through a week long virtual celebration. While distance learning made recreating traditional Spirit Week impossible, Marlborough’s class councils worked closely together to create a week that they believed would replicate the magic of Spirit Week. 

Dean of Student Life Brett Quimby and student council members were faced with the challenge of putting together an event that invoked the same feelings usually associated with Spirit Week, but also generated the same level of participation and excitement as it did on campus. 

“The council felt like it was going to be really hard to get the kind of participation and buy-in that we do when we are in person,” Quimby said. 

Keeping in mind the community’s favorite aspects of Spirit Week, council agreed on a reimagined version of the event called “Marlborough Madness.” The week was centered around trivia competitions, where groups in each grade, as well as faculty, competed in non-academic quizzes throughout the week culminating in an All-School Meeting on Friday. Emerson ’26 loved the idea of competing in quizzes. 

“I’ve always enjoyed competing in trivia,” Emerson said. “I play the Trivia Crack game on my phone and I’d say I’m pretty good at it. It was very fun discussing and debating on answers with my fellow classmates and I thought it was very fun!” 

Marlborough Madness also incorporated the community outreach portion of traditional Spirit Week. The community partnerships team came up with a menu of actions that each student could take to earn points for their class. Students could participate in numerous outreach activities such as contributing to a community fridge, donating a packed lunch or submitting their own outreach work, creating flexibility while still encouraging community service. 

“Thinking about the limitations that we are under right now the question arose: do we really need everybody to be spending extra money at this moment? Instead we came up with a different way of getting participation,” Quimby said. 

The event also incorporated the cherished tradition of dressing up each day of the week as a way of gaining points as a class. Instead of dressing up in costumes, students dressed in the assigned color of the day. 

“My favorite part about Spirit Week was seeing everyone’s costumes and virtual backgrounds,” Eden ‘25 said.  “It showed how determined we are as a class. It also made classes more fun to see some hilarious props and/or Zoom names.”

The week concluded in a school-wide trivia match where the winning teams from each class represented their grade in hopes of becoming the winner of the Marlborough Madness quiz competition. While each grade’s team was competing in trivia, students had the opportunity to engage in council-led discussions and unmute to cheer on their grade. 

“My favorite part of the week was definitely the quiz bowl,” Lucy ‘22 said.  “It was so fun to see grades motivate and stand up for their respective teams. I definitely won’t be forgetting that Zoom anytime soon.” 

Emerson found the week to be successful in bringing her class together through healthy competition. 

“I think it was [successful] because everyone did such a great job with what they had, and everyone still showed spirit even though we were online,” Emerson said. “Overall, I’d say our class bonded because we all share the same urge to win. It’s fun being around people as competitive as me.”

Eden viewed the week as an escape from the daily routine of school.

“[Spirit] week motivated us to get up and take time to get ready, Eden said. “It also allowed us to see that we can still connect with one another even if we can’t physically be close.” 

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