This year’s hall decoration competition had a whimsical theme: game night. Planning was key, with some class cabinets getting started during summer break.
A change this year was the addition of an eco-friendly focus to the judging criteria, in which points were awarded based on usage of recycled material. This led to both successes and difficulties for the various classes.
According to Eric Mirsepassi, the co-activities director, this year’s hall dec preparation had an easy flow and little drama due to centralized supplies and a clear sign up sheet.
The freshmen landed in third place with a hall festooned with brightly colored paper and streamers. Giant candies hung throughout the hall, and a winding trail of game squares graced the floor.“We tried to make it as magical and wonderful as we could,” said Auden Konoeke, freshman class president.
The freshman class tried to think outside of the box for their hall presentation. “We knew that we couldn’t outcompete the other classes as far as sheer decoration was concerned, so we tried to create an interactive play,” said Konoeke. The freshmen were focused and involved in their task, completing their hall in four hours. Another achievement was the amount of student involvement. “I was surprised at how many people stepped up in student cabinet and really met this challenge,” said Konoeke. “It was very good to see.”
However, the freshman encountered difficulties as well as successes, namely issues around management. “Organization is key. We were a little disorganized in the last minute, and I think that’s what we really lost at the end. We couldn’t figure out what materials we needed,” said Konoeke. The freshman class also encountered the common problem of paper falling off the walls. As for goals for next year? “Get started earlier. We were really crunched for time,” said Konoeke.
The sophomores aimed to impress by including the judges as game pieces in their Game of Life-themed hall. The hall included festive balloons, paper squares forming the Game of Life path, and the iconic mountains from the Game of Life board, as well as a multitude of streamers. Unfortunately, the sophomores finished in fourth place this year.
Unforeseen circumstances, like the fire in the woodshop, impacted the presentation of the sophomore hall. Another issue was gathering supplies for the hall. “I think where we fell short was recycled materials, and I think largely you could say that’s because people can’t really bring things from home as well. The juniors and the seniors can drive, so it’s easier for them to bring stuff. Most of our hall was paper,” said London Mahaley, sophomore class president.
Despite these hurdles, Mahaley was proud of the sophomore’s work. “I think the involvement from the sophomore class was a lot higher than I expected. Just looking at the student council elections, we had like three positions that weren’t filled. So I was expecting a lot less, but when it came time for the big meeting, all the seats in the room were filled, people were standing,” said Mahaley. Despite the sophomore’s last place finish, Mahaley was pleased with the participation and effort put into the hall. “In the end, my goals were definitely met,” Mahaley said.
As for next year, Mahaley is thinking of ways to streamline the planning process. “My plan is that once we get the theme, we can just use the same emails and phone numbers we got this time, and that way we can get an idea of the investment and who is going to be there,” said Mahaley.
Juniors got creative in their hall decoration, featuring colored sheets instead of paper for wall and floor coverings in their Monopoly-inspired hall. Students held posters representing the various options in the game, and the judges were integrated into the hall as well, progressing through the hall as though they were playing monopoly. The juniors’ efforts paid off, and won them first place.
Junior class co-president Stephanie Singh felt that past experiences surrounding hall decs helped make this year a winner.“We put a lot of hard work into it this year, because we had a lot of bad luck in the past with things coming down and not being able to finish in time.”
This year, hall dec planning started during summer break and continued throughout the school year. “Every weekend, we met for a few hours outside of the school to really just get the artwork done, so that the night of was simply setting up,” said Singh.
Even with careful planning and dedication, the junior class encountered some minor problems. “We had wire hanging across the hall, and it was a little difficult making sure it held the sheets up, but after that, it was smooth sailing,” said junior class co-president Quinn DeLany.
This victory is especially sweet to the juniors, who placed fourth last year after a paper collapse crisis. “It was really good to have that feeling of coming back from losing the past few years to creating something so great all together,” said DeLany.
The juniors are already thinking about goals for next year, namely increased outreach to the general student population. “We would try to have more participation from the junior class, because I think it’s such a fun activity for people to be involved in. A lot of people know what hall decs is but they don’t really know about the process, and if we can get the word out, it will be all the more fun for everybody,” said Singh.
The seniors went all out on their Clue-themed hallway, securing second place in the competition. With elaborate rooms and lots of black paper, the seniors brought the eerie aura of Clue to life.
Olivia Sheen, senior class secretary, was especially proud of the materials used in the senior hall. “I really liked how we used a lot of household items. We had a lot of couches, chairs, and rugs. A big aspect of hall decs is trying to be environmentally friendly, so we used reusable resources to make the hall look better and save paper,” Sheen said.
The seniors also attempted to make their hall stand out with a judge-centered skit. “We tried to get the judges really involved in the skit. We had somebody leading them through and we kind of treated them like detectives, and gave them detective badges and notepads, so that they could solve the murder with us,” said Sheen. AB Osman, senior class president, agreed that a lot of work was put into the skit. “We tried to have our skit be on fleek,” Osman said.
The seniors were proud of their work, and glad they had one last chance to participate in a school tradition. Sheen only wished more seniors had taken advantage of this opportunity. “I felt like the people who showed up have been showing up for the past four years. It’s kind of the same people who do it. I would have loved it if we had seen different students coming to participate,” said Sheen.
Osman also felt that creating the hall decorations was special, and said his favorite part of the experience was “being able to work with my peers. Its my senior year, and it’s the best I can ask for.”