The history of UAIS traditions finally unveiled

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Haley Puri (Junior) enjoying Winter Olympics! 

Dubbed “the smart people school” by students across the district, UAIS has held a reputation of being solely academic based, but students of the IB program know otherwise. UAIS has multiple traditions and a rich history that every student becomes familiar with by their senior year.

Most well-known, UAIS is famous for its Winter and Summer Olympic Games. Olympics consists of a series of games students participate in with the Houses they are sorted into freshmen year. Yes. Houses. Like Harry Potter. Nerds, right? According to Mr. Layson, the Diploma Coordinator of the IB Program, Olympics started off as a way to offer students experiences they felt they were missing out on by not being at their homeschools.

“SAB decided they wanted to create something better than a pep assembly that everyone could participate in, and they ingrained it into the houses that already existed,” Mr. Layson said. “It was created in the spirit of bringing everyone together and making everyone feel like a part of the experience.”

Students may not realize it, but they might’ve partaken in a UAIS tradition before they even began attending the school. UAIS hosts Extravaganza Night each year to show 8th graders the environment of the program. Numerous students and staff demonstrate how unique UAIS is through activities like IB theatre performances and Physics experiments.

Junior Giselle Sesi says that Extravaganza is her favorite UAIS tradition:

“I always look forward to extravaganza because I love seeing who will be interested in our program.”

This school year, Extravaganza will take place on January 20th, 2022. Make sure to spread the word to any prospective UAIS students!

Another famous tradition at UAIS is the announcing of what colleges each senior will be attending at the Summer Olympics Ceremony. Each May, seniors do not attend classes, and instead take their IB Exams at Rose Kid Elementary School. In the final week of May, Seniors return to class, and partake in Summer Olympics. During the Closing Ceremony, Senior Class Sponsor Mr. Spear reads off each college and each senior attending. Everyone in the school is present, and it is a bittersweet moment with lots of tears. This tradition was created by the staff at UAIS, and its personability is possible due to small population size.

Seniors also partake in a grade-wide water war during IB exam month. While not affiliated with UAIS, each year seniors create teams and a rule system to compete in Water Wars. In a bracket-style competition, two teams go up against each other in a specified amount of time and try to eliminate each other with water. It is a great way to end the year and have some fun during a high stress time for seniors. While this tradition comes from schools across the country, UAIS students always put their own spin on it.

There are countless of other traditions at UAIS. From Opening Ceremonies, the freshmen year physics trip, Dodge Park day, Senior Honor Night, crêpe sales, and more, there is a range of experiences offered at UAIS for all interests. These traditions are created through collaborative work among students and staff.

About his favorite tradition that he has experienced at IB, Senior Logan Deal said, “AMES days because it’s a good way to relax from the rigorous IB curriculum and connect with the underclassmen.”

Traditions at UAIS are revealed throughout the year. While some things are school-wide and common knowledge, more of these traditions take place near the end of a student’s high school career and are kept in a secretive manner.

Emily Hoyumpa graduated with the class of 2021 and was a part of the leadership group SAB and President of Student Senate.

“My favorite UAIS tradition was definitely Olympics! It was great coming together as a school and bonding with other students while having a competitive aspect,” Hoyumpa said.

The love and excitement for Olympics is shared across members of the UAIS family.

Freshman Robert Crossen said, “I am excited for Summer Olympics because Croc House is definitely going to win again, and we are better than the other houses.”

The anticipation of who will be the Summer Olympics champion is certainly one felt throughout the school. Alumni continue to support their houses even after graduation and are typically invited to attend the Closing Ceremony, but due to COVID this year, they were not invited.

UAIS students will wait and see who turns out on top!