As an international school, our students and families come from over 55 different countries, speaking more than 38 languages. For many incoming families to International School Bangkok (ISB), the concept of Spirit Week is entirely new to them as it may not be a part of their culture at school. If you’ve ever wondered what Spirit Week is or why we do it, read on to find out.
Origins of Spirit Week
Although it is difficult to pin down the exact origins of Spirit Week, many schools in America have adopted this practice since its supposed beginnings in a California high school back in the 1960s. The elements and components of Spirit Week were born out of various American school traditions, all aimed at building community, school spirit, and participation.
Following the pep rally of the 1950s, a gathering before sporting events to boost spirit and support for athletes, Spirit Week emerged as a means to build the same morale, spirit, and support across the entire school, not just within the athletic department. The events, tasks, and experiences of Spirit Week all encourage students, teachers, and parents to come together as one unit.
Key Spirit Week Elements
A Spirit Week usually consists of a series of dress days where each day of the week, students and faculty are encouraged to dress to match a certain theme to show school unity and spirit. In America, this is usually the week leading up to the big Homecoming football game and school dance after the football team has played a series of games away at other schools and returns home to play a game on campus.
Typically, one of the days will be dedicated to wearing the school’s colors while the others are assigned fun dress instructions such as dressing like your favorite character or dressing like a twin with your friend. School assemblies are also a key component of Spirit Week, where the school gathers together as a community to celebrate the community and recognize individuals. Lastly, sporting events often take place throughout the week or weekend of Spirit Week, which everyone is encouraged to attend.
What It Looks Like at ISB
Spirit Week at International School Bangkok is always full of color, excitement, and joy. Usually spanning five consecutive days, each with its own unique theme. The week usually kicks off with “Pajama Day” or “Comfortable Clothes Day” where everyone dons comfy attire. The rest of the week sees sporting matches, divisional assemblies, club fairs, and friendly competitions all connecting us to one another. It's a time when the school's hallways burst with color, laughter, and palpable energy, reminding everyone that being part of the school community is not just about academics but also about celebrating the unique and spirited identity of the school.
This week was our first Spirit Week of the year, and the dress days were:
*House Colors are assigned to students in Middle and High School as another way to build community groups within our larger community.
Why Do We Do It?
At ISB, we do Spirit Weeks every couple of months as a way to build belonging and community. Spirit weeks foster unity, enthusiasm, connection, and camaraderie. They also provide opportunities for students to showcase their creativity and school spirit, helping them develop a deeper connection to their school community.
By promoting school spirit and a sense of belonging, Spirit Week creates a positive atmosphere where students are more likely to feel engaged and motivated to participate in various aspects of school life, including academics. When students feel a strong connection to their school community, they are more likely to attend school regularly, actively participate in classroom activities, and collaborate with peers, all of which contribute to a conducive learning environment.
Beyond the fun and excitement, spirit weeks often coincide with important school events, further reinforcing the idea that education goes beyond textbooks and involves building lasting memories and a strong sense of belonging.
Interested in being a part of a vibrant community where education and spirited engagement come together to create an unforgettable and enriching experience? Apply now to start your journey!