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Spirit Week, Campus Events Lead to Exciting Homecoming Celebration for All Ravens
A grid of photos showing people dressed up in theme clothing for Spirit Week

Clockwise from top left: Katie Barnwell, Zoe Welsh and Jordy Baende on Wacky-Tacky Day; Lana DuBose’s PreK students on Pajama Day; the Cross Country team on Green and Gold Day; and Middle Schoolers on Neon Day.

School spirit was on full display last week, as the entire community got behind a fun slate of activities and events that celebrated what it means to be a Raven. From Spirit Week to the Fall Community Event and Homecoming, students, faculty and staff, families and alumni went all in.

Spirit Week

As it has for many years now, the week kicked off with a series of themed costume days that gave students, faculty and staff the opportunity to dress up to show their Ravenscroft spirit. From Monday’s Wacky Tacky/Mismatch Day and Tuesday’s Pajama Day to Thursday’s Neon Day and Friday’s Green and Gold Day, Ravens across campus show their originality and had a lot of fun. (There was no school Wednesday in observance of Yom Kippur.)

“I really liked Spirit Week! Neon Day was fun because I got to wear really bright colors, including neon-pink sunglasses, a neon-pink hat, and a neon-gold jacket!” Sarah Macgabhann ’30 said. “It was so fun to see my friends dress up in different colors, too!”

“I liked having days where I could wear something comfortable like Pajama Day,” Embrey Zola ’29 added.

The week was capped by two special events: the Women’s Football Championship game between the junior girls and the senior girls, held on Thursday night on Stefanou Field, and the pep rally there as well on Friday morning. 

A grid of photos showing the Women's Football Championship and Fall Pep Rally

At top, junior and senior participants in the Women’s Football Championship; at center and bottom, students of all ages get involved in the Fall Pep Rally.

“For me, being involved in the [women’s football] game was solely for fun. It didn’t matter about winning or losing, it felt like both sides were united in a friendly competition,” senior athlete Sydnee Jefferson Kearney ’23 said. “I love playing in games like these because it gives you a sense of community and allows you to be yourself no matter what the outcome is on the other side. It is my favorite part of Spirit Week, and I would do it again next year if I had the chance.”

The schoolwide Fall Pep Rally — the school’s first since 2019 — brought everyone, PreK through twelfth grade, together to celebrate the season’s athletes. This year, Lower School students held the team signs and walked with the athletes as they were cheered by the crowd.

Fall Community Celebration

Building on the momentum created by last year’s Spring Celebration, volunteers with the Parents’ Association and the Ravens Athletic Club pulled out all the stops to deliver another successful community-wide event featuring kids’ activities, a DJ and music, carnival and video games, delicious food and a chance to reconnect. Many alumni, who were on campus for some long-awaited reunion fun, were also in attendance at this special celebration.

A grid of photos showing different activities at the Fall Community Event

Clockwise from top left: the Fall Community Event features carnival games, home athletic competitions, tasty treats and lots of time to hang out and play with friends.

“The event was really cool!” Emma Campbell ’29 said. “The snowcones, games and bouncy houses were a good idea for all of the grades.”

“I loved having Kona Ice and playing football with my friends,” Dylan Fox ’30 said.

All told, nearly 600 guests enjoyed the meal by Rocky Top Catering, along with food-truck treats from Goodberry’s as well as Kona Ice. Families were also encouraged to cheer on Ravenscroft athletes at a variety of home competitions. Heading into the Homecoming football game, Director of Protective Services Tommy Vestal said, there were approximately 1,400 Ravens on campus to enjoy the afternoon and evening events.

PA planning committee member Katherine Creedon said, “It was incredible to see so many students, parents, faculty and alumni coming back to enjoy the festivities on campus! I just love seeing record numbers of families enjoying dinner and sending good energy to the teams playing on campus.”

“The carnival was so fun and everyone was full of spirit for the game!” Gia Lubsen ’28 said.

“It was a very exciting week, culminating with a pep rally in the stadium, dinner and fair on the Campus Green and athletic games being played around campus,” Athletic Director and head varsity football coach Ned Gonet said. 

Homecoming Football Game

As the grand finale of the week, the home football game united Ravens of all ages in the stadium for an exciting game against Charlotte Latin. The stands were packed with green and gold as the competition unfolded, with many more alumni watching the game from the balcony of the new Alumni Hall of Fame Room in the Olander Center for Student Life at the A.E. Finley Activity Center.

“The Homecoming football game was awesome!” Abby Torgler ’29 said. “The entrance of the football players was the best —  all the green smoke was so magical.” 

“Ever since I have been at Ravenscroft, I have always gone to the Homecoming games,” Sareena Singh ’27 said. “I have made many memories there and hopefully there are more to come!”

A grid of photos showing the Homecoming Game and Court winners

Clockwise from top left: Ravens varsity football battles with Charlotte Latin; the Ragin’ Ravens bring spirit to the crowd; the Home stands are packed, even during halftime; the firework display lights up the night sky; and Homecoming honorees Sara Baende ’23 and Caden Storch ’23 pose with their parent escorts after being recognized on the field.

Halftime brought the recognition of the Upper School’s Homecoming Court, with this year’s nomination and voting procedures reimagined by the Student Government Association to be more inclusive and accepting. The updates build on the progress made by previous SGAs to ensure that the students on the Homecoming Court reflect Ravenscroft values of campus engagement, community service and a commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.

“SGA realized that having designated [nominee] lists for boys and girls promoted a binary system that is increasingly out of step with our goals of celebrating Ravens of all identities,” SGA sponsor Mark Laskowski explained. “Gender-neutral ballots were introduced a few years ago, and this year the group decided that, in the interest of promoting a truly inclusive court, the time had come to retire outdated honorifics such as ‘king’ and ‘queen.’” 

“Students were asked to choose any two students on the Senior Homecoming Court, regardless of gender identity, to be our Homecoming honorees,” SGA president Carter Anderson ’23 added. “I also think it's really special that our Homecoming Court represents the students who are very involved and active in our community as opposed to the stereotypical popularity contest that is often associated with traditions like this.” 

Homecoming honoree Sara Baende ’23 said, “I loved Homecoming this year because I feel like it was nothing like any Homecoming we have had before. It felt magical. I feel like this community is actually doing something to help everyone feel included. I am excited to see what we can do to continue to build an inclusive community!”

Co-Director of College Counseling Lia Prugh, who is also a Ravenscroft parent, said she and other families in the stands were moved by the changes. “I’m always proud to get to share with parents that the usual Homecoming Court is not just made up of the ‘popular’ kids, and I think that becomes really clear when they read the many (many) accomplishments of the seniors,” she explained. “To see us move away from gendered titles allows our students to get to choose who best represents their grade and our community, and that feels like another great move in the right direction.”

Another Homecoming tradition — the halftime fireworks display — kept the crowd fired up as the Ravens returned to the field for what Gonet called “the second half of a very competitive, exciting and well-played game.”

“I enjoyed the amazing display of fireworks presented by Wells Orthodontics,” Trey Messier ’27 said. “I always enjoy coming to campus after school ends!” 

Thank you to the PA and RAC planning committee members Randi Gilbert, Amelia Warner, Laura Maiurano, Jessica El Mann, Katherine Creedon, Kelley Foster, Kari Shoemaker and Mariella Shirak for their hard work and dedication in making these events such a success for our community. Thanks as well to the parent, faculty and staff, and student volunteers who signed up to work the event.

Warner said, “We were blown away that more than 40 volunteers and Ravenscroft faculty and staff came together to make sure this special event represented all of our children. It really brought home that Every Raven is so important Every Day at Ravenscroft, and we are proud and grateful to be part of this special community.” 

Enjoy photos from the week’s events on our Flickr page!

Thank you to these Upper School SGA representatives for their hard work planning Spirit Week, Homecoming Court nominations and elections, and Saturday night’s Homecoming Dance, which enjoyed record attendance and raised, through ticket sales, more than $4,000 for the American Cancer Society, the nonprofit selected by the student body as recipient.
A table showing the student representatives to the Student Government Association