On Oct. 23, students arriving at school were greeted with a flamboyance of flamingos.
On Oct. 23, students arriving at school were greeted with a flamboyance of flamingos.
Yutia Li

Falcons, flamingos and a whole lot of fun: Behind the scenes of Maverick Homecoming and Spirit Week

Oct. 23-27: A week like no other
Seniors Corbin Robinson, Lyall Wight and Sophia Hung pulled out their purple ball gowns and faux fur coats for Dress like Kinkaid Day. (Horatio Wilcox)
The history of the Homecoming dance

As the fall season reaches its end, a buzz of excitement weaves through the school. Weeks of pep-rallies and football games culminate into one final tradition: Kinkaid Week. Kinkaid Week bolsters spirits and brings students together for Homecoming, the first school dance of the year.

On Oct. 23, students wearing informal “Barbie” attire flooded the Great Lawn with shades of pink for the annual dance. Decades-long rituals and months of hard work go into creating a fun week for students. 

The night of the dance always occurs on a Monday evening, giving SAC enough time to organize the event days before. Teachers conduct parent-teacher conferences on the next day so that students can stay home and take time to recharge. 

The timing of the dance also allows students to attend Homecoming dances at other schools, which typically occur on Saturdays. 

Kinkaid Week has evolved over the years. Rebecca Jay, an SJS archivist, recalls traditions that stretch back as far as the ‘60s. In 1963, students enjoyed attending the great bonfire ritual that took place on the South Campus. 

“Folks who lived in the apartments by campus loved to sit on their balconies until the bonfire was extinguished,” Jay said.

Although traditions like these were soon snuffed out, some live on—including pep rallies and the Kinkaid video.

Another unconventional aspect of the School’s Homecoming is its lack of classic Texan traditions, putting a casual spin on the dance and contributing to the originality of Kinkaid Week.

“St. John’s does not try to copy Kinkaid or Episcopal,” Jay said. “We don’t have a Homecoming King and Queen or mums.”

Instead, students decorate the School, dress according to a theme and attend an all-school pep rally before the big game. 

“One of the best traditions from Spirit Week is always the pep rally, where the Spirit Corps saves the football captains from the Kinkaid Falcon,” Upper School math teacher Eric Gao (‘16) said. 

Another fan-favorite tradition is dressing up to different themes each day. These themes include camouflage, red and black and the infamous “Dress Like Kinkaid Day,” where seniors don tiaras, boas and yellow and purple outfits to impersonate the Falcons. Kinkaid retaliates with their own “Dress Like St. John’s Day,” where they wear stereotypical nerd clothing. 

“I like that Kinkaid has this day,” Upper School Dean of Students Bailey Duncan said. “It is a sign of a healthy rivalry.”

As a result of Spirit Club’s hard work, paper lanterns adorned the bookshelves of the Academic Commons on Monday morning. (Yutia Li)
Spirit Club decorations

Instead of doing homework or spending time with friends, senior Mia Hirshfeld spent her Saturday afternoon sticking thin metal legs into plastic flamingos. 

Hirshfeld and fellow Spirit Club captains Corbin Robinson, Libby Smith and Reese Stepanian, along with other Upper School students, devoted hours of their weekend to giving North Campus a complete makeover. 

On Oct. 23, unsuspecting carpoolers encountered a flamboyance of flamingos awaiting them in the Plaza’s bushes. Atrium passersby looked up to see a glittery pink banner reading “Let’s Go Party.” Students strolling through the Academic Commons beheld the “Maverick Dreamhouse,” bedecked with pink pennants and paper lanterns.

On the morning of Oct. 21, the plastic flamingos lay legless within the depths of cardboard boxes. The lanterns were still flat, crumpled disks stacked on top of one another in plastic packaging. 

Over the next hour, dozens of hands inserted each individual leg into each flamingo body and weaved wire framework into each paper lantern.

“Purchasing everything, submitting receipts and getting people to show up to help took a lot of planning in advance,” Hirshfeld said.

To her and many others, seeing the hard work pay off was well worth the hectic preparations.

“Spirit can really bring people together,” Hirshfeld said. 

As Smith untangled yards of pink pennants, she also admitted that preparations for Kinkaid Week involve a lot of work. 

“But it’s still so fun,” Smith said. “And fun is what should come to mind when people think of school spirit.”

Football captains Michael Murphy, Peter McGarry, Stephen Gill, Cole Allen and Barrett Mossman showed up in all red and black, bringing their Maverick spirit to the Kinkaid video and the football field. (Virginia Carolyn Crawford, Ava Oliver and Ella Piper Claffy)
Kinkaid Video

On Oct. 27 at the Upper School pep rally, students watched this year’s special Kinkaid Video. Students reflect on the combined work and effort put into creating this over 30-minute-long video.

Like all other seniors, Virginia Carolyn Crawford, Ava Oliver and Ella Piper Claffy received an email at the end of their junior year with an application to create the Kinkaid Video. 

Crawford, a multimedia editor for The Review, Oliver, a video creator for The Review, and Claffy, a Print Editor-in-Chief for The Review, initially dismissed the form without a second thought. But as summer rolled around, the opportunity appealed more and more to them.

Soon, Crawford brought up the idea of joining the film team.

“We didn’t think our role would be super grand,” she said. But after pitching their ideas to Duncan and the football captains in August, they received the green light to begin writing a script.

Crawford, Oliver and Claffy just wrapped up their roles at the helm of the video-making project. Claffy wrote individual scenes, Oliver directed and edited and Crawford coordinated filming schedules. 

Amidst the hectic lives of Upper School students and faculty, the video editors admit that getting actors together at the same time was far from easy. Coordinating costumes and creating lines took considerable effort as well. 

“That was the hardest part,” Oliver said. “We can come up with an idea. Editing takes forever, but we can do that too. We just don’t have control over people’s schedules.”

Crawford, Oliver and Claffy ended up filming a major scene for the video—one with over thirty people—on Oct. 11, when students did not attend their actual classes due to the PSAT. It would have proved “impossible” to schedule the shoot at another time.

Despite this chaos, the trio appreciates the friendships the Kinkaid video has brought them. 

“This was a film very much based on personality and humor,” Crawford said. “So you were seeing people in their best, funny states. And that was just super fun to be around.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Genevieve Ederle
Genevieve Ederle, Staff Writer
Genevieve Ederle ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. She loves to organize her life on Notion, and she can’t stand black coffee.
Mikail Khan
Mikail Khan, Staff Writer
Mikail Khan ('27) has impeccable penmanship and loves to bake chocolate bundt cakes. He joined Review in 2023
Yutia Li
Yutia Li, Staff Writer
Yutia Li ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. She likes to chug coconut water and enjoys diving head-first into softball bases.
Horatio Wilcox
Horatio Wilcox, Staff Writer
Horatio Wilcox ('26) joined The Review in 2023 as a sophomore. His favorite women’s cricket team are the Belarusians. He is from New York but does not have an accent and will not say “Hey, I’m walking here.”

Comments (0)

All The Review Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *