It was 1 p.m on student orientation day, Aug. 26, but the backfield was empty. There were no three-legged races, no students tied to metal poles with duct tape and no one letting out a scream and falling into the dunk tank.
But what many wide-eyed parents saw instead were panting, colorfully dressed high-schoolers sprinting across campus in the newly implemented scavenger hunt.
The campus-wide activity, called “The Hunt” by some, was created by Patricia Dias, Student Council adviser, and the four officers over the summer as an alternative to Olympics Day. Students were still split into small teams, but those teams no longer represented countries.
At the start, the teams passed a hula-hoop challenge before receiving bags of clues and materials. The clues were task the to complete in an hour.
They included making a 30-second documentary-style video explaining one of the murals in the high school, finding headmaster Stephen Repsher to ask for a dance and taking a picture with Buzz Lightyear (in teacher Chris Millsback’s room).
The first team to complete all objectives successfully, the black team, won.
Dias explained that the change in Olympics Day was due to it no longer being held in the same conditions as it was when it first started in 2008.
“The way the Olympics were planned was to take up a full school day because it was actually a school day. But recently it isn’t a school day—it’s just orientation day.
“We want the faculty and students to be able to come to school, have a quick and fun orientation, go home and get ready for the first day of class.”
Dias said Student Council was onboard because the scavenger hunt not only still included fun and team-bonding, but also kept the preparation and cleanup at a minimum.
In the past, while most students were let out by 3:30, Student Council and Dias had to stay until 5 p.m., cleaning up the field and returning equipment.
“Olympics Day is just crazy; it’s so much work,” Dias said.
This year, the cleanup was finished by 3 p.m.
Student response to the change, however, has been mixed. The freshman and senior response was mostly positive, while the sophomores and the juniors were more split.
Some students complained that the scavenger hunt didn’t allow teams to interact with each other, thus eliminating the sense of direct rivalry. Others said it was chaotic, disorganized and didn’t get everyone to participate.
“I like the change, but I still think Olympics Day is more of a team-building thing,” junior Keegan Crain said.
“(During the scavenger hunt) you had maybe one or two people figure out what the next thing was, and the other kids were just there to follow you.”
The pro-scavenger hunt students said the hunt was more exciting and promoted team-bonding in a more effective way.
“I thought it worked out really well,” said senior Patrick Talamantes. “It might not be better than the Olympics, but it was at least as good.”
Freshman Kaeleigh Valverde said the game helped her get acquainted with the school.
“I felt very comfortable on the team even though there were older students and new people I’ve never met. (It felt like) I’ve known them for at least a while.
“I think it was perfect—it just brought everyone together just enough to get the job done.”
Most of the teachers, who no longer had to follow the teams under the blazing sun, really appreciated the change, according to Dias.
The Student Council is still waiting for feedback and has not decided whether the scavenger hunt will permanently replace Olympics Day.