Virtual Spirit Week Replaces Annual Welcome Back Dance


Photo Courtesy of Kayla Espiritu

WOW had five events, and ASB featured participating students on ASB Instagram stories. The grade with the most contributing students earned a point for the class points system, a competition in which each class competes for the most points at the end of the year. Before WOW, freshmen had 10 points, sophomores have 5 points, juniors have 15 points and seniors have 20 points in the class points system, and the updated points will be announced in a few days.

Bia Shok, Features Editor

To maintain school spirit during online learning and compensate for the lack of the Welcome Back Dance this year, ASB arranged Week of Welcome (WOW), a virtual spirit week from Aug. 31 to Sep. 4. 

The interactive event encouraged students to send pictures of them participating in various activities to the Portola ASB Instagram account. From Monday to Friday, the events consisted of a purple out, TikTok dance-off competition, a trivia day, favorite Portola memory submissions day and a purple item scavenger hunt. 

Events such as Tuesday TikTok Dance-Off intended to increase student interest through familiar and frequently-used platforms according to co-activities director Emily Sheridan. Compared to other spirit weeks, WOW focused on welcoming students back to school and preserving the feeling of a physical Welcome Back Dance. 

“We couldn’t just push the dance to Zoom,” Sheridan said. “We as an ASB class kind of felt like, ‘Well students are using Zoom for classes and that kind of has a connotation of school time.’ So we just tried to think outside of the box, get people excited about [coming back] in a really genuine way instead of just ‘oh this dance that was gonna be in person is now gonna be on Zoom.’”   

With the event using Instagram as their main platform, moving this year’s spirit activities online made it difficult to include students who did not use social media. Making sure everyone would have an equal chance to participate was one of ASB’s focuses, according to ASB president and senior Jun Kim. 

“A difficulty was trying to reach people who didn’t have Instagram because that’s where we will be pushing out all this info, and so I made some Google Forms for people who don’t have Instagram to send out to IVA teachers,” Kim said. “The biggest thing was that, ‘How can we make students excited?’ With this, although it is not as exciting as [the dance], every student can be showcased if they participate, and this will hopefully be exciting for them.” 

ASB members hope to see increased participation in future virtual spirit events, such as in the next spirit week planned for the week of Nov. 16. They also hope to see a “domino effect” in students when ASB members take the initiative to engage in events first, according to co-spirit and rally commissioner and senior Kai Wong.   

“WOW was very successful given the unique circumstances the students body was thrown into at the beginning of the school year,” Wong said. “Portola was the only school to publish a full, interactive pep rally video to be watched by the entire student body and was the only school to interact with the student body daily on social media . . . Of course, others might measure our success based on how many students participated, but at the end of the day, ASB tried its absolute best to unite the student body while being socially distanced and we for a fact did exactly that.”