The Purpose of the Spirit Week


Photo Cred: Vasty Ortiz Color by Class Spirit Day to wrap-up the weeklong Homecoming Spirit Week

At Casa Grande, spirit weeks consist of days in which students dress up for a specific theme. These days are highly anticipated by students who spend time planning perfect outfits for the occasion. 

The intention of spirit weeks, hosted by the leadership class, is to bring students together and boost campus morale. The week of October 18th to October 22nd, leadership hosted Casa Grande’s Homecoming Spirit Week. This spirit week embodied what spirit weeks should truly be: togetherness. 

Dr. Dan Ostermann, principal of Casa Grande High School, comments on this theme of togetherness.

“I think it’s a challenging time for all of us. As a school this big and this important to our community it is difficult…I believe that my role is to make sure that we are keeping our northstar of civility and inclusivity fully intact, making room for different opinions and experiences, keeping that safe space,” said Ostermann. 

Ostermann believes that he functions as an attendant to students when it comes to spirit days. He believes spirit days should be fun for students, not divisive. The four graduate profiles of Casa Grande–broad literacy, civic engagement, personal vision, and high employment–should be taken into account for the creation of spirit days. However, Ostermann recognizes students also just need days in their pajamas. Finding that balance is important for Ostermann. 

The previous spirit week, the week of September 20th through 24th, did have controversy. Monday the 20th, which was “USA Day”, consisted of a few students coming to school in political attire. These actions caused some students to feel uncomfortable. As principal, Dr. Ostermann received backlash from students and parents. The initial community response was distress towards the students who came in political garments. Casa Grande’s administration decided to replace Tuesday’s theme, “Western Day”, with “green and gold” day. A second wave of responses consisted of student’s and their families upset about this change. 

“I heard [opinions] from every side imaginable. Which was good in a way. I think some very active voices in terms of which media environment those comments were coming from. I personally don’t spend a whole lot of time on social media. I heard about it through email, and through ParentSquare. I think it’s safe to say that we missed an opportunity for civil discourse around what the meaning of that particular spirit day could be or should be,” said Ostermann.

Despite the controversy surrounding those two specific spirit days, it created an opportunity for the Casa Grande to reflect on the question: “What is the true meaning behind spirit days?”

They are meant to be inclusive and create an environment where students feel connected and safe. 

Ostermann is fully focused on learning from this experience, but more importantly, moving forward. 

“Moving forward, I would hope that we not, as a society, as a community, not jump at something. First, ask questions and seek to learn more,” Ostermann said.

Inclusivity and community are two key elements in Ostermann’s approach to his job as principal. He also recognizes the diligence of Casa Grande ASB and how they meticulously work to ensure that Spirit Weeks and all other school events are enjoyable and harbor a safe community.

“I think it’s important to celebrate all the great work that ASB is doing. I truly appreciate them. We need to keep moving forward and. Again, we truly appreciate all the great work, and many, many highlights already this year, and we’ve only just begun. It’s just going to be a great fall semester,” said Ostermann.