While we celebrate Spirit Week in the Upper School from Feb. 5-Feb. 9, take a look at the traditions from other schools in the International Association of Southeast Asian Schools for inspiration.
Jakarta International School
For their equivalent of Spirit Week, Jakarta International School participates in Pajama Day, Twin Day, Wacky Wednesday, Character Day, and Naga Day, where students dress in Jakarta International School merchandise. “Once for Twin Day, my friend and I wore matching T-shirts with each others’ faces on them,” says JIS sophomore Avril Delgado. In October, JIS holds a competition between each grades called the Cilandak Games, where grades fight for the Naga Cup. The student body is separated into different activities, and students compete to gather points for their grade. Emilie Hamlin, a junior at JIS, says, “My favorite activity is volleyball because it’s my favorite sport and it’s always fun to play.” After the individual activities, they gather in the gym for a tug of war. The class with the most points then wins, though students often speculate that the Cilandak Games are rigged, since the seniors almost always end up victorious.
International School of Kuala Lumpur
International School of Kuala Lumpur hosts a performance and game at lunch from Monday to Thursday of their Spirit Week, with each day organized by a certain grade. Each grade is responsible for having someone in their grade perform a song, and the grades design games for all students to compete in. Games range from food eating competitions to trivia games, face painting or relay races.
One memorable food eating competition involved a challenge to eat an orange as fast as possible. “This one kid didn’t even bother peeling the orange. Instead, he just inhaled almost half the orange with the peel on and everything,” ISKL senior Hannah May says.
Their spirit week culminates on Friday, when the school hosts many athletic activities out on the field.
There are competitions such as wheelbarrow races and water balloon tosses. “My favorite event would probably have to be the lip-synch battle,” says Hannah. During the lip-synch battle, groups or solos from each grade perform on stage: a few teachers perform, as well. The lip-synch battle is a spirit event that counts toward the Panther Cup, a tradition that ISKL started two years ago.
“Nobody is ever embarrassed and everyone just gets so into the event. I especially love that the teachers get involved and spend the time to make it a really good show,” Hannah says.
International School of Bangkok
Spirit Week at the International School of Bangkok occurs more frequently throughout the year. Guy Thampakkul, a junior at ISB, says, “Spirit Week is usually a mid-season thing, around three to four weeks before IASAS and between pre-IASAS and IASAS.” In total, ISB students have three spirit weeks throughout the school year, as they have one in each sporting season. Besides dress up days, ISB has different councils that organize games for each day of the week. For instance, ISB’s Varsity Council organizes an obstacle course, Student Council organizes a class pie eating competition, and another organization organizes other activities like “Soak the Teacher.” “It’s just really fun to bring the energy up from our usual school routines and ending the week with participating or watching sports competitions is always nice,” says Guy.
Unlike TAS, where students compete by grades, ISB has a house system featuring competition between houses instead of grades: their four houses are Makara, Rajasi, Hongsa, and Yaksha. Makara’s color is blue, Rajasi’s is red, Hongsa’s is white, and Yaksha’s is grey. There are quarterly and yearly wins for the house that participates in the most events. “Winners usually vary quite a bit, but the seniors are always the loudest,” says Guy.
“Spirit Week is always really fun and the energy is always really, really high because there is music in the cafeteria, and people are hyped for the tournament weekends. The energy and school spirit is always really high…you can feel the hype and people smile and laugh a lot,” Guy says.
Singapore American School
At Singapore American School, Spirit Week occurs once a semester, in April and October. Just like Spirit Week at Taipei American School, SAS high school students dress up and participate in games that contribute to the overall result. Ethan Chen, a senior at SAS who left TAS after his sophomore year here, says, “The dress up days are pretty special just because we have to wear uniforms.”
Some of SAS’ dress up days include International Day, Disney Characters Day, and Professional Day. While TAS has a special assembly schedule for students to participate in class games, SAS games go on during their lunch in the cafeteria. Lunch activities include musical chairs, pillow fight, or bench press competitions.
Like SAS, the school separates into three hourses during their spirit activities. “There are three houses, Ethon, Andor, and Aquila, and you get assigned to one. Each grade is spread equally among the houses and each house has its own color,” says Ethan.
Having participated in both TAS and SAS Spirit Weeks, Ethan explains that the level of spirit during Spirit Week at both schools is about the same and that Spirit Week at the two schools are pretty similar. He says, “Although it’s sometimes always the same people playing [the games], who are chosen by our Student Council, and I don’t like some of the games, I like the free dress so I can wear my own clothes.”
International School Manila
Spirit Week for International School Manila is centered around unifying and hyping the school for IASAS events. ISM assigns a theme to each day of Spirit Week for dress up, and the students also have a send-off assembly where they screen the IASAS send-off videos to recognize the teams for their achievements.
The first three days before the IASAS games begin, students dress up according to themes from squad day to mathletes vs. athletes. ISM junior Rocio Tambunting says, “I love Pajama Day. Being in clothes that are actually comfortable at school makes a world of a difference.” During the IASAS send off, students dress in either green or yellow. “Since our bleachers are all green, we try to get people to wear yellow and spell out ‘ISM’ in yellow. We get a pretty cool effect,” says ISM junior Ursula Roscigno.
However, the school-wide event at ISM that most resembles TAS’ Spirit Week is called the “Battle of the Bearcats.” This takes place in September, when all the grades compete in various events in order to win the Spirit Cup. “Even though the events are important, the spirit points that you win for cheering on other batches, or grade levels, are even more important,” says Rocio. This year, the juniors actually ended up beating the seniors. “This was incredibly controversial as Battle of the Bearcats often ends with the seniors taking the trophy,” Rocio says.