O-Week, also known as Orientation Week, is a time when the entire high school body gets together to have fun. It usually starts during the first week of school so that students can hang out and make new friends for the school year. What makes O-Week special for a lot of people is that it brings an engaging start for the school year and gives people a lot of good memories. Everyone, from Grades 7 to 11, plays games and is assigned to a specific house or group.
Though there are two leaders for each house, we decided to interview one former head or leader from each of the four houses. We interviewed Dave Que from Silver Staff, Vince Dela Paz from Cross Azure, Ashley Robale from White Scroll, and Timy Uy from Green Flames.
Many of the students have only experienced O-Week once or never before, so this article may be interesting for those who want to know what this event was like before the virus came around. At the same time, all this might give everyone an idea on why an event like this is so important to have at the start of each year. As we go through the importance of leadership and teamwork, the students may be able to piece together what can be done to make the start of next year's school year, if they were to be still online, as engaging as O-Week once was.
There are four houses in total: Silver Staff, Cross Azure, Green Flames, and White Scroll. Each house has to wear a specific color for O-week. Members in White Scroll must wear white while Green Flames must wear green. Cross Azure on the other hand must wear blue, and people in the Silver Staff usually wear black.
Once a teacher assigns you to a house, you will be in that house for the rest of your high school experience. If you have a sibling, they would also be in the same house as you. This is to prevent other houses from knowing what is happening in another house.
Every year the activities change, but some stay like the cheer. The house heads also change every O-Week. They are almost always the Grade 11 students, one girl and one boy to lead each of the four houses. However, the Grade 12 students do not play the games in O-Week. This is because they are in charge of making the games themselves and managing the event.
The house heads agreed that starting the week with O-Week was a good idea. This is because it motivates everyone to be excited about starting the school year. New students would also be able to get to know other students better. Since GCF-ICS does not go against other schools, the students are able to look forward to this event for a little competition.
Students get to interact with the higher batches easier through games. They can make new friends from other batches and not just their own. This allows the high school body to be a lot closer. The games also exercise our bodies and our brains. It is very fun, and it gives everyone some competitive spirit. It is also a way to show the ICS culture and values. Cross Azure head, Vince Dela Paz, said that for him, it was the most fun part of the school year. He said that it was the only sport activity that took place in ICS.
Over the summer break before the beginning of the school year, each house head had to meet up in advance in order to be prepared for O-Week. Most of the specific games were to be announced on the spot during the week itself, so all they could do was plan out the devotions that were to happen per house, and of course, the cheer.
The “cheer” is a performance that involves choreography, chants, and teamwork. It is arguably one of the most important activities during O-Week since the house who has the best output will win a huge amount of points. Students only have about two days to learn it and practice with everyone before performing it on the final day of O-Week.
The house heads gathered as many people as they could during the summer so that they could come up with the chant for the cheer and the movements that go along with it. This was done so that the people who were already familiar with the cheer can help teach the other members during O-Week itself. This allowed them to work more efficiently.
There was definitely pressure that came along with the preparations, especially for Cross Azure heads Vince Dela Paz and Ada Mendoza. At the time, both of them had felt like they had to win in order to meet certain expectations. This caused them to overthink and feel extremely nervous. Eventually, they were able to overcome this anxiety.
Being a house head and leading tons of people was tough because of the number of responsibilities placed on their shoulders. Though it was difficult, there were good sides to being a leader of a specific house. The former house heads explained how their overall experience was as the leader of the group, what hardships they went through, how they got over it, why they had fun, and the benefits of being a house head.
Most of them had the pressure of winning because of the previous wins and losses of the houses. Vince Dela Paz specifically had the mindset that he should win because his house won twice before. Nevertheless, he realized that it was okay to lose if he tried his best. The house heads also had a difficult time leading lots of people. Though there were struggles the house heads went through during O-Week, everything in general went smoothly till the end.
While there were struggles, there were also lessons that the house heads had learned. Being a house head had taught them how to handle responsibility better. It has also trained them to manage the different batches and make sure that everyone works as a whole and that nobody is left out. They explained that as a house head, it was their duty to encourage and motivate others to participate in games and be active. Moreover, when someone made a mistake or did not do well in a game, instead of pinpointing what they should have done, the house heads learned to encourage them so that they would perform better later.
O-Week has made the house heads closer to the people in their house. Since there are not that many chances to bond with different batches, the house heads expressed that it helped them to be closer with younger batches. Like other people who participated in O-Week, the house heads enjoyed the games and interacted with a lot of people.
Offline and Online Bonding Activities
The experiences of the leaders really showed that O-Week was crucial because it was really just about the high school body bonding together. Though we can not have O-Week at the moment because of the pandemic, the student council has made the Game of Phones event which was a similar activity to O-Week. The student council came up with a total of eight games that was played in the Game of Phones event; namely, the Lie Detector, Minute to Win It, Family Feud, Millionaire, Tiktok Watch the Clock, Karaoke Night, Doodle and Guess and Netflix but not Chill. Like O-Week, the Game of Phones event was for us students because it gave us a short but fun break after all the requirements that we had to do for the past few weeks prior to the event.
To Wind Up
O-Week was an important part of the school year since we all could get together to make memories. It also makes us all learn valuable lessons such as leadership and teamwork - two important things that matter in everyday life.
Events like O-Week give us a chance to bond as a high school body which is crucial because there are not that many situations where we can interact all together. During this event, it allowed us to communicate with people from various batches by playing different kinds of games. In times like this where we can easily feel isolated, we should still continue to build a united community through events like O-Week that help us see the importance of having a connection with one another. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to build that connection, so let us stay strong and work hard until we get to see each other once more.