Bedford High School is abuzz with anticipation for its upcoming Community Day on Wednesday, the half day of school leading into the long Thanksgiving weekend. On Community Service Day, academic classes are replaced with the much-anticipated Advisory Olympics. Students in the school’s Peer Leader class, alongside faculty advisor Alexis Duffy-Protentis, have worked hard together to orchestrate a well-thought-out event aimed at promoting camaraderie, school spirit, and inclusivity.
Inclusive Spirit Week Themes Set the Stage
Starting last Thursday, leading up to the Advisory Olympics, the school has been embracing a week of spirited theme days designed to unite students and celebrate individuality. From the playful “Soccer Mom vs. BBQ Dad” to the cozy “PJ Day,” each theme aims to set the stage for a week of shared excitement. Students and faculty that choose to participate dress up according to the theme of the day and show off their creativity – on Tuesday teachers and students pair off to dress up as each other.
“Advisory Olympics:” A Student-Driven Extravaganza
Named the “Advisory Olympics,” this year’s Community Day is tailored to thoughtfully engage students of all interests and abilities. Advisories are made up of around 20 students with a mix of ages across each of the four grade levels at BHS who meet for half an hour weekly with two faculty members in a non-academic environment.
The Advisory Olympics pits advisories against each other in a lightly competitive way. Crafted by the Peer Leaders, the event features a diverse range of activities falling under three categories: athletic, mental, and creative. Students will have the chance to participate in challenges such as the Water Balloon Balanced Obstacle Course and the Three-Point Basketball Game, and engage in mental activities such as creating a Wordle.
There is also a community service aspect of the day – advisories that collect the most combined donations of personal care items will receive an advisory party later in the year.
Student Leaders Secure Support and Approval
The Peer Leaders presented their concepts to a room of nearly 100 adults during a school staff meeting, gaining approval from the administration. Peer Leaders Margaree Hybl and Emma Mandell successfully pitched the idea of the event to the Bedford High School Parents Association (BHSPA), securing funding for Munchkins to kick off the day and exciting prizes for advisories successful in competition. The collaborative effort between students, parents, and faculty underscores the community spirit at Bedford High School.
The times in which the entirety of the BHS population is collected together are relatively rare. The opportunity to connect as a school is not only done through community day events but also the pep rally that follows. Apart from a special guest speaker assembly, one of the only times is during the Pep Rally.
Following the Advisory Olympics, Community Day continues outside. The student body gathers on the bleachers by the turf for a chance to be together as a school. There is organized entertainment – performances by the BHS cheer team and other groups, a football team cameo, and students can sign up to represent their grade as the classes compete in entertaining party games and activities.
Sabourin Field gets loud as grades cheer for their classmates or teachers competing in a raucous game of musical chairs or tug of war.
The pep rally is very popular among students as BHS principal Heather Galante says, “The volume of the cheers and the collective energy of the crowd in the stadium stands is palpable…It serves[s] as a positive memory for so many students.”
Building Connections and School Pride
The overarching goals of Community Day, the Advisory Olympics, and the Pep Rally are to bring the entire school community together, provide activities for diverse interests, and foster connections.
Galante said, “Community Day and the pep rally have become much-loved traditions at Bedford High School. As the principal, it brings me such joy to see students having such fun collaborating and celebrating together.”
The competitive spirit and collaborative effort are expected to create lasting memories and strengthen the sense of community at Bedford High School.