On October 11th at 11:55 a.m., there was a buzz of excitement at Whitney High School. Many seventh and eighth graders were lined up in front of their classroom doors twenty seconds before the bell, anxiously waiting for the ring that signaled the start of the extended lunch. It was Western day: the highly-anticipated annual event, organized by student council members. Western day, despite its name, is an annual in-school event, where students can thoroughly enjoy fall festivities. Student council members spent weeks organizing a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating activities, and apple-bobbing competitions.
At the apple-bobbing contest, every one of the five class grades at Whitney High appointed a representative to compete in a timed competition to crown the apple-bobbing champion. The first-place winner was the representative from class of 2023, Itzel Huera, who bobbed 3 apples in less than 30 seconds. The senior class, represented by Krishn Patel, followed close behind in second place. The 2023 and senior class won spirit points for their grade, which are all tallied up to win the spirit award at the end of the year.
A new change was instilled at this year’s Western day. Every year previously, the class cabinets of student council set up tables complete with popcorn makers, hot pots, and ice cream stands. Food was sold to fundraise for class activities and future events. Hot dogs, which were nicknamed “bangers” were a novelty sold by student council, complete with a relish, ketchup, and onion station. Through this exchange, class cabinets fundraised hundreds of dollars, which funded bonding activities, pep-rally spirit gear, and class merchandise. On Western day, the school lunchroom was sparsely filled, as all students bought their lunch to support their classes, instead of buying school food. However, for the first time in many years, a new idea was implemented, where school Nutrition Services cooked all the food, not the classes themselves. The school Nutrition Services sold hot dogs and cheeseburgers; Clara Kim, an 11th grader who attended her 5th annual Western day, stated, “My expectations for this year was pretty low, when I heard classes weren’t allowed to sell food, but the food sold by the school Nutrition Services actually exceeded my expectations.” She was “amazed by the buffet style array of foods.” Overall, the school seemed to approve of the new change this year. Kenneth Kim, a junior, expressed his fondness for the refreshments, “I loved the juice! It was delicious, especially the mixed-berry flavor.”Samir Panwar, who also attended his 5th Western day, had a contrasting opinion, however: “The portion sizes were a little small for the price of 3 dollars.”
Another annual tradition is the free petting zoo, which is temporarily built in the center of the sophomore lunch tables. This year, the petting zoo had goats, sheep, and bunnies, which attracted a 20-foot-long line of animal-loving, enthusiastic students. Students had an opportunity to pose with animals for a photo opportunity and also help the animals drink water, which the animals eagerly did in the sunny weather. The students could also participate in the pumpkin decorating activity, where grades competed with each other to decorate the most extravagant pumpkin. The sophomores, who painted a pink and purple ombre sunset with silhouettes of cacti, won first place. Despite the grade difference, the seventh graders managed to keep up with the sophomores, and won second place.
Students at Whitney High thoroughly enjoyed the well-deserved break from the stress of the fall finals season. Many memories were preserved through pictures taken in front of the decorations and painted backgrounds. Whether it was through the apple-bobbing, pumpkin decorating competitions, or the amazing western decorations and posters, the fall spirit was celebrated and enjoyed by all students.
Stella Hong, Grade 11
Whitney High School