School spirit decks the halls of Homecoming Week
November 5, 2014
Every year towards the end of October, each of the four classes takes one night to show school spirit and pride by decorating its hallway based on a theme.
Last year’s competition brought hallways such as the Jay Gatsby Juniors and the Scare Because We Care Seniors.
This year’s contest brings a new wave of ideas, ranging from fluorescent lights, the border, and America, to “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
The below will follow reporters Laura Yuan and Colin Morrow as they meet the people responsible for the hallways that, for one week, plastered the halls of Glen Rock High School.
Feel free to skip to your favorite hallway or read them all; we here at The Glen Echo have divided the article into navigable chapters for your reading ease.
Remember to follow us on Twitter @TheGlenEchoGRHS for student news and relevant updates.
Freshmen light up the science hallway
On Monday, Oct. 20, the freshmen class of 2018 turned off the lights for their first ever homecoming hallway. The Fluorescent Freshmen set the hallway aglow with neon duct tape, brightly colored streamers, light bulbs, and an assortment of lights and disco balls.
The theme of the hallway, Fluorescent Freshmen, was voted on by the students via an online poll. Other ideas such as Fairytale, Flying, and Frozen Freshmen were also proposed. Hallway decoration concepts often use these alliterative titles.
“One of the freshmen, Janine Downing, came up with the idea,” said freshmen class adviser and science teacher Mario Porciello. “It was a close race between Fairytale Freshmen and Fluorescent Freshmen.”
This is the first year that Porciello is a class adviser. He is joined in the task by Jacqueline Stoller, a special education teacher, who is also in her first year as a class adviser.
Yet the two are definitely not without assistance.
“Ms. Davitt and Ms. Forstot have been excellent help. They taught me a lot and gave me a lot of information,” Porciello said. “Ms. Walter, senior class adviser, her two daughters are in class council, she has been a great help. I’m very close with Ms. Patel and Ms. Ammirata so I talked to them.”
The freshmen who helped stayed after school until 7p.m on Oct. 20 to complete their hallway.
Prior to the day of decorating, however, many meetings were held to plan for this occasion. The class received donations of neon duct tape, string lights, a disco ball, a black light, and other supplies. Many students and members of the class council came after sports or other after school activities to lend their assistance.
The class officers also played important roles in the construction of the hallways. Porciello said that the “class officers work really well together.”
Class officers Nicholas McRae, Hiroki Doyle, Jean Walter, Rena Mototani, and Tom Consoli led the planning and decorating of the hallways. McRae, president of the freshmen class, was happy with the choice of theme this year and enjoyed decorating the hallway. His favorite part of the process was “getting to stay in school for twelve hours in one day.”
Yet that did not mean the decorating was without its challenges.
“We did not have anything that could help us reach the ceiling. We were basically stretching as far as we could. Then someone finally brought a ladder,” McRae said.
Time constraints also made the decorating more difficult for the freshmen class than any other.
“Other classes have some of the summer time to do planning, and we have two weeks. Between deciding who the class officers are and planning, we don’t have that much time,” Porciello said.
Decorations, such as painted paper light bulbs, were placed on each locker. Table cloths splattered with paint were taped over the lights using neon duct tape. Colorful streamers hung above doorways. Other paper and cardboard decorations were arranged throughout the hallway.
In the center of it all was a construction known as the “Black Room.” Draped with black table cloths, the “room” was filled with multicolored lights. Disco balls, lava lamps, a black light, and string lights were placed inside a display cabinet.
“I think making the Black Room was the best part,” said recording secretary, Jean Walter.
This sentiment was echoed by many other students who helped make the hallway.
“I didn’t do it, but it looks amazing!” said freshman Lizzy Bonica, referring to the Black Room.
Overall, the hallway received positive feedback from students, teachers, and parents.
“I’ve been getting pretty positive feedback. A lot of people showed up to help decorate the hallway. More so, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the parents,” Porciello said. “We had a lot of participation, more than I ever expected, so I am really happy about that.”
The students that helped out were happy with the results of their time and effort.
“I thought that we did a really good job this year,” Walter said. “Everyone here worked their butts off. Way to go!”
Last year, the freshmen class’s “Flintstone Freshmen” hallway was reduced to rubble by a group of unknown students. This was a cause of concern for this year’s freshmen class who were concerned that their hallway might end with a similar fate.
“People should not rip it down,” freshman Madison Jones said.
President McRae said: “Please don’t rip down our hallway. That would make me really sad.”
Luckily for the freshmen class, the hallway stayed in one piece until it was formally disassembled at the end of Spirit Week.
The students also had suggestions as to what could be done better next year.
“I think we need a little more people next time,” Walter said. “We need to come for the preparatory meetings and everything, just so we can get more stuff done and have an even better hallway next year.”
Other suggestions included improved neatness when working on decorations and more decorations to put up.
Sophomores have a fiesta
On Tuesday, Oct. 21, several sophomores sacrificed their free time after school to help make this year’s “South of the Border Sophomores” hallway one to remember.
Some students painted the posters found on the walls, while others contributed by hanging up paper passports on each sophomore’s locker. Smiles were contagious as idea after idea came spilling out to make the hallway the best that it could be.
Sita Patel, one of the sophomore class advisers and a Spanish teacher, was thrilled to see the energy of those helping with the hallway.
“We had a lot more free time to work on the hallway,” she said. “There was a lot more time to plan. Students got more of their friends to help out. I’m very excited because of how hard the students worked.”
The sophomores were determined to improve from their ‘Flintstone Freshman’ hallway from last year. Despite their best efforts last year, the class of 2017 had very little time to work on the hallway. Much of their work was also soon destroyed by fellow students.
Yet this year’s sophomore class has faith that its fiesta-themed sophomore hallway is better than its hallway in 2013.
“This year’s hallway was very successful,” Anne Nebbia, sophomore treasurer, said. “It just looks so much better than last year’s freshman hallway.”
Nebbia added that the success of the hallway was largely in part to the “helpful” students who constructed it.
The 2014 sophomore hallway had a lot to live up to, considering the class of 2016 had success last year with its “Super Mario Sophomore” theme.
The sophomore students this year were looking to give the Nintendo theme a run for its money. To many, they did just that.
“I think that it’s a good competitor to last year’s sophomore hallway,” Patel said.
Nebbia agreed, giving credit to both her class and its predecessors. “If it’s not just as good, it’s better,” she said. “Last year’s was really good.”
When students came into school the next day, many admired the work of the sophomores. Whether it was building a cactus from boxes or dressing up the garbage cans with sombreros and mustaches, the sophomores seemed to have decorated the hallway from head to toe.
With so many effects to choose from, students had a tough time picking their favorite.
“My favorite part was the photo booth,” Nebbia said, which was busy all day with students who wanted to have their picture taken alone or with friends as they put on a sombrero and mustache.
“I liked the passports on each person’s locker,” said Jack Cinquegrana, a sophomore. “I thought it was funny how they put a sombrero and mustache on each person’s school picture.”
To Patel, the best part wasn’t any particular object but rather the work that the students put into the hallway. “I loved seeing the students’ creativity come out,” she said.
Founding Fathers would be proud of their juniors
The juniors completed their third homecoming hallway on Wednesday Oct. 23, demonstrating their patriotic spirit and appreciation for the Fourth of July.
The theme chosen for this year’s hallway was dubbed ‘July 4th Juniors.’ Although July Fourth is historically seen as the day of American Independence, the junior class’s hallway also captured the spirit and fun of the holiday.
The junior hallway was adorned with American flags, paintings of important historical landmarks, and various topical decorations.
Marisa Davitt, administrative assistant, and Rochelle Forstot, special education teacher, are the class advisers for the junior class and supervised the construction of the hallway.
“This was actually the easiest one that we’ve done of the three because everybody knew what their role was. We came in and we did it, and that was it,” Davitt said. “The freshmen year is always the hardest because you have no clue what you are walking into. By last year it got better and this year it was great.”
The July 4th Juniors theme was decided by a class vote.
“We created a list at our sophomore semi-formal last year and had everyone vote. Everyone who didn’t go to the dance, we also made sure they voted,” said class treasurer Kaitlin Stansel.
The juniors started planning for their hallway over the summer. They met every other week to make preparations and plans for the decorating.
In order to make the hallway decorating seamless, the class divvied up the hallway.
“They all pitch in in different ways,” Ms. Davitt said. “They all help each other.”
The junior class started working after school at 3:30.p.m and finished at a quarter to ten. The students made (instead of bought) many of their decorations and received many donations including paper, paint, and all of the candy for the parade.
Out of a class of 198, around 60 juniors helped out with the decorating. Some of this turnout could be attributed to the fact that the night of the 22nd was the first “Homework Free Night.”
“I like that so many people came to help. I could come up with a whole list of names of people that helped create the hallway. Not just working on it but also baking stuff for it, coming up with ideas, and also bringing the Uncle Sam,” Stansel said.
The junior class, class advisers, and much of the student body were very impressed by the patriotic hallway.
“I feel like when you pick a theme that is more general you can do more with it. So I feel like it wasn’t just like July Fourth the holiday. It was about patriotism, and I think it turned out very nicely,” Stansel said. “It captured all aspects of the holiday and the country and we had the soldiers and I think that was appreciated.”
Junior Christina Howie was happy with the choice of theme this year, as well as the finished product.
“I really like coming and painting things. I like to come beforehand and make a lot of things,” Howie said. “When we actually put up the hallway a lot of people come, and it gets a little chaotic, but it’s fun.”
Underclassmen were impressed by the junior classes’ hard work as well.
“I loved the Uncle Sam, paper mache, and the creative decorations. I really appreciated how many of the decorations were handmade and how much thought and care went into everything,” Emily Podd, a freshman, said.
Since the history department was right down the hall, the Junior class also made sure to check their facts.
“We tried to make sure we were not messing up history facts. We tried to be respectful to the history department,” Stansel said.
For the advisers, though, the most important aspect was seeing everyone come together.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are in the ‘in’ group or you’re not, if you play sports or you’re in drama. Everybody comes together which is neat,” Ms. Davitt said. “I like to see that.”
The juniors also had some excellent advice to offer the freshmen class who decorated their first hallway this year.
“It’s definitely something that you should work on,” Stansel said. “Make sure you get a bunch of different people working on it and also know that it takes time and work on it in advance.”
Howie remembers putting together their hallway during her freshman year with nostalgia.
“Freshman year we literally did the whole thing the night before,” she said. “And last year and the past year we met over the summer and worked on it before the actual hallway night.”
Now that the parade is over, the class is going to start thinking of ideas for their final hallway.
“I would just like to thank the class,” Stansel said. “We couldn’t do it without them, honestly. If it would just be us doing it, the hallway would not look like what it does now.”
Senior class joins together to defeat the dark side
On Thursday, Oct. 23, the senior class created a Star Wars-themed hallway.
The hallway was covered end-to-end with various drawings and sculptures from the popular movie series from the late 1970s.
The turnout for the senior hallway was much larger than for any other grade this year. Near 90% of the senior class came to the school on the evening of Oct. 23 in order to create the hallway.
“This year’s turnout was one of the largest ever. It really brought the class together,” said Kathleen Walter, senior class adviser and history teacher.
Kyra Gilbreath, senior class president, was instrumental in organizing her class for the “In a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” theme.
“Putting the hallway up is really moving,” Gilbreath said. “People come together to work.”
Despite the success of the hallway, the senior class did not always have full confidence in the theme.
Many would have preferred another famous movie series, Harry Potter, to be their inspiration under the title “Sorcerer’s Stone Seniors.”
Others still wanted the “Under the Sea-niors” theme to be their class’s hallway.
Yet over the summer, the class officers worked to curtail the doubts that their class had. In the end, the majority of the class of 2015 was happy with the finished product.
“Some students were not excited about the theme at first. Now that they are able to see how good the hallway is, they love it,” Walter said.
Last year’s senior hallway, by the class of 2014, was one to remember. The “Scare Because We Care Seniors” brought several smiles and laughs to students and teachers.
“Last year’s senior class hallway was excellent,” Walter said. Yet she also maintained faith that her class would rise up to the challenge.
The senior class also wanted to outdo their own hallway from 2013. Their “Jay Gatsby Juniors” theme was based on the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and popularized by the recent movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Gilbreath, who has been part of student council for three years, feels that this year’s hallway outdid her class’s past creations.
“I was really proud of our sophomore and junior hallway,” Gilbreath stated. “But I think the senior hallway has been our best.”