In an unprecedented turn of events, the HBA Administration recently announced a set of changes for the 2017-2018 school year. These changes include a new uniform design and the elimination of the competition in Spirit Week activities.

While the daily costume themes, assemblies, and activities will remain, these events will no longer contribute to an overall Spirit Week competition between grades. Instead, grades will simply participate in each event with the stated goal of “creating a positive scholastic culture that promotes both the expected schoolwide learning results and overall pride in being a part of the interconnected and supportive community that is Hawaii Baptist Academy,” according to high school vice principal Ryan Frontiera.

Frontiera explained the administration’s rationale in changing what is considered to be a sacred tradition by students and alumni alike this way: “Every year for the past several years, we have received numerous complaints about Spirit Week from students, faculty, and parents…These complaints almost always testify to the fact that the competitiveness of Spirit Week has ruined relationships between grades and within classes itself.” Frontiera said that the main catalyst for the overhaul was the largely negative reaction among the student body to the results of this year’s Spirit Week. “This year, we received a significant increase in complaints, many expressing anger at other grades and the administration for ‘rigging’ the competition. Overall, the school environment had become something we could not take pride in,” he said.

…the main catalyst for the overhaul was the largely negative reaction among the student body to the results of this year’s Spirit Week.

Reactions to the announcement among students and faculty were largely negative, with many reacting in shock and disbelief. Senior class council social chair Kayci Kumashiro opposed the change, stating that while she “understood that [this year’s] Spirit Week created many problems,” she did not believe that the administration had to go as far as to take away the whole competition, because Spirit Week “is nothing without the competition.” Junior class council social chair Jalen Sur agreed, relating it to an analogy of a broken toilet: “You don’t fix a toilet by taking it away. That would cause way more problems. In the same way, you can’t fix the Spirit Week competition by getting rid of it. That’s just illogical.”

Although the changes will go into effect next school year, the administration has yet to provide details on the full extent of the Spirit Week redesign. However, Sur has already started a petition protesting the change, which he plans to submit to the administration by the end of this school year. Students who want to participate in Sur’s petition can follow this link.