While the colours of purple, orange, green and yellow are not the school colours at St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School in Barrie, Ontario they have significant meaning and are attached to one of the most important traditions, known as Clash of Colours,  that brings the school community together.

Since 2005, Clash of Colours has taken place annually during the third week of October.  What started out as simply a day where grades dressed in their colours and attended an assembly evolved in 2009 to a full day of play, camaraderie, competition, building community, sportsmanship and fun!   The Colours never change. Gr. 9s are always purple, Gr. 10’s orange, Gr. 11’s green, Gr. 12’s yellow and staff are blue!  This event kicks off our run for our sought after spirit points!   Each grade competes to be the Clash champion as well the competitions continue throughout the year and one grade is awarded the Spirit Cup every June!

A typical Clash of Colours event has students ‘picking a buddy’ and a theme for their grade in the weeks leading up to Clash.  It also involves a great deal of student leadership as many students volunteer to run games and lead their peers for the day.  Students are then randomly put on teams, by grade, with their buddy and posters related to the grade’s theme appear throughout the school.

On the day of Clash, teams participate in various activities throughout the morning. All activities change annually, except for one… Bus Pull!  Pulling a 15 tonne Bus is a highlight of the day for all teams and they look forward to it every year!  Lunch is a special time where the Arts Dept. hosts a Clash of Talents and we are all entertained by our talented Panthers.  The Beaver Tail food truck also makes an appearance during lunch. Once the talent show is over, we assemble back into the gym for our closing assembly, recap video, and large group activities. Since a loud, active environment isn’t appealing to all students, we offer a board game / video games rooms that day as well.

A typical Clash day brings the grades together and looks like this…

Clash of Colours through a COVID lens, looks a little different

Although COVID has changed the way our schools operate, we could not let it impact our most important tradition that helps kick off our school year and spirit points!  While it definitely wasn’t the same, it brought a lot of joy to both students and staff!  With the support of our amazing admin team, we persevered and ran our Clash of Colours through a COVID lens and of course we could not leave out  bus pull!

Instead of Clash being a one day event, we made it a week long event!  Students were invited to wear full colour Monday and accessorize their uniform or wear a coloured top the rest of the week. Although student’s couldn’t pick a buddy or be on random teams, we were able to create teams by grade / class cohorts.  Students in each class volunteered to lead their class and games and these leaders and staff were invited to a google classroom with the week’s events listed.

Monday started our week with a virtual assembly, and we issued challenges to the grades to decorate their classroom doors in their grade themes and to come up with their cheers.

Our first game of the week was Name that Tune over the P.A system!  The rest of the week featured Minute to Win It games we could adapt!

Our school schedule includes one class for the full day with one subject one week one subject the other week.  Since breaks are scheduled during the day we tried to avoid class interruptions by using the breaks as opportunities to play games.   We chose games that had materials that could be sanitized and all students were to sanitize before and after touching objects.

Tuesday involved 2 games using hula hoops, paper airplanes and cups.  Check out Minute to Win It games Aerial Ace and Hoop de Loop.

 

Wednesday was a highlight of the week where we featured our annual bus pull!  The rope was marked off 1 metre apart.  Since students could not social distance outside, they proudly wore their masks. They also had to sanitize before and after touching the rope.  We also played the Minute to Win It game Bucket Head that day.  This activity required ping pong balls and a bucket.

 

Thursday  was the day we judged the doors as well as played Minute to Win It Rapid Fire.  We had also challenged classes to create ‘pre approved’ Tik Toks.  The halls were definitely buzzing this day!

Grade themes this year were Gr. 9’s – Rise of the 9’s, Gr. 10’s Prison Break, Gr. 11’s were the Epidemic Elevens and the 12’s were the Imposters!  These are evident in their doors!

Friday we ran a scavenger hunt using Goose Chase.  If you haven’t used it, check it out! Our only hiccup was that our school didn’t have wifi for the first 3.5 hours of the day 🙂  Thank goodness for data!!  Visit goosechase.com to learn more. It has an educator page with free access and different rates available depending the size of your games / teams.  We had never used this platform before and it went well!  Sadly, due to the school wifi issues, we were unable to run our ‘live’ virtual closing assembly broadcast and recap video.  It was featured the following Monday.

Clash week brought back some life into the building.  Throughout this week, we of course didn’t want to leave out our talented Arts students.  Our Arts department did put a call out for our talented students to submit entries.  While we didn’t get the normal amount of entries, we did have a couple submissions that were included in the recap video.  We also didn’t want to leave out the students who don’t like silly games and created and offered brain teasers, word scrambles etc..  via a google form for them to enjoy.  If you wish to check out videos of Clash, feel free to visit our Peteypanther Youtube channel and check out the Clash playlist!

The air in the building was much lighter during Clash Week. While we couldn’t see the smiles under the masks, we know they were there!  Their eyes were a little lighter and it was enjoyed by staff and students. Dealing with all of the chaos and change we face daily is definitely a challenge.  We continue to rise to that challenge and adapt to  find opportunities to connect and build relationships with our staff and students.

Stay safe!

Jenn Lemieux

St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary, Barrie

 

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