IBET Wars: Challenging The Freshmen Spirit


Displaying their CC (Class Council) hand symbols with pride, 2021 Class Council members are in the process of devising IBET Wars as they schedule administrative meetings, deliberate on various events, and formulate a comprehensive survival guide. As the first of its kind, IBET Wars promises to relieve the stress of academics and extracurriculars for freshmen, all the while producing memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Sean Nguyen

For the Class of 2021, Homecoming was not enough to showcase the freshmen spirit, unity and enthusiasm. The first of its kind, IBET Wars offers an opportunity for students to demonstrate true characteristics of a Jefferson colonial. Ever since the initial broadcasting of the event in Nov. of 2017, the 2021 Class Council has prepared for IBET Wars by attending administrative meetings, conducting charity sponsor sessions, alongside tens of hours of purchasing equipment, writing the guide, and coordinating rooms. However, all of this has been executed in secret, arousing speculation and rumors about what the event actually embodies. This is a break-down of what IBET Wars is, its significance to Jefferson, and all the events surrounding the classified project.

What is IBET Wars?

Held from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23, IBET Wars is a competition between the six IBETs primarily centered on spirit and class unity. Freshmen acquire points through various events, with a reward for the victorious IBET: a celebratory pizza party. Although IBETs are challenging one another, 2021 Class Council has emphasized sportsmanship and collaboration. After attempts at a theme, 2021 Class Council finally established IBET Wars’ theme as “Unity In the Community”. Freshman and 2021 Class Council secretary Jordan Lee illustrates the relevance of unity for the freshmen.

“Class of 2021 is divided into cliques, whether it’s the jocks, the musicians, or the artists,” Lee said. “This unifying event’s purpose is to gather the diversity Class of 2021 has to offer; and rather than pit one student against another, we’re hoping freshmen will share and collaborate their skills and talents toward a common goal.”

What are the events of IBET Wars?

Although distinct events, Homecoming and IBET Wars possess numerous activities in common- among these are the pep rallies. Freshmen will exit their classrooms, and enter pep rallies. The atmosphere of instruments performing, students shouting into megaphones and signs flying above the bleachers will eventually be silenced as roll calls, one minute cheers for each IBET, occur. 2021 Class Council has encouraged freshmen to utilize their one-minute roll call for the most and spectacles.

“[During Homecoming,] a small group of freshmen dictated the entire roll call where students from the outside were limited in their input for more original roll calls,” freshmen President Neal Bhatnagar said. “In Class Council, we are encouraging people who may be more quiet to speak up with their ideas, so when the two roll calls come around, freshmen can witness the result of their work.”

However, unlike a traditional pep rally where the cheering would conclude the event, IBET Wars offers Capture the Flag. Two IBETs will vie in retrieving the flag on the opposite side of the territory, where the victorious IBET will knock out the losing one from the competition. Ultimately, after several rounds of eliminating IBETs, one IBET will be crowned the champion of this event.

2021 Class Council discussed for hours on which sport competition was more appropriate to accompany the pep rally. With an initial choice of tug-o-war, the event was struck down during the sponsor meeting as it was deemed hazardous by FCPS guidelines. Following this, the 2021 Class Council suggested running tic-tac-toe, yet a great majority of freshmen opposed this as they characterized it as uninteresting. Freshman and Class of 2021 Treasurer Tiffany Ji recounts all of the phases required before obtaining a consensus for Capture the Flag.

“Beginning with tug-o-war, then tic-tac-toe, then to pin dodge, the athletic competition was continually rejected. Even when we decided Capture the Flag, the administrators was hesitant on allowing us, as it would have posed unsafe for freshmen. Fortunately, after days of lunch meetings, we approved Capture the Flag as the official pep rally competition.” Ji said.

Besides the events surrounding the pep rallies, freshmen may acquire points through the established events of Teacher Trivia Tournament, Countdown Competition, IBET poster, Guess the Number of Candies, and Donation Station. 2021 Class Council members committed hours to determine the most apt and exciting activities apart from the pep rallies.

“The pep rallies were going to be an event we couldn’t take out as this was something freshmen always looked forward to. However, from there on, we [2021 Class Council] strived for fresh and original ideas, ones that wouldn’t conform with the traditional Homecoming,” Freshman and 2021 Vice President Jason Chen said. “Lots of concepts that almost made the cut into IBET Wars ranged from paper-mâché snowmen constructions to a t-shirt design contest to movie night.”

Although teachers occasionally discuss anecdotes from their lives, students aren’t fully knowledgeable of teachers’ personal lives. Teacher Trivia Tournament enables students to guess which of the 13 IBET teachers a particular fact may pertain to. For instance, the announcer may ask, “Which IBET teacher once worked at the Masters major golf tournament?” to which participants would respond, “Ms. Glover.”

“A trivia tournament was among our first ideas, yet 2021 Class Council realized an apparent issue with this, as some students were more knowledgeable in trivia than others, Bhatnagar said. “We formatted the event into teacher trivia, where students won’t know the answer, but once they do, it’s something they could laugh and talk about.”

In a school dedicated toward STEM, Countdown Competition assess freshmen’s ability to rapidly and accurately calculate an answer. Provided five numbers, competitors must utilize a combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to attain a target number. Similar to a knockout bracket, IBETs challenge one another until only one is left successful.

Based on the premise of the Homecoming banner, IBET poster implores artistic and creative freshmen to sketch, draw and color a poster that best depicts their IBET whether it is through IBET themes, inside jokes or the names and photos of students and teachers. 2021 Class Council has stated that the posters would be hung in the respective IBET classrooms for the remainder of the year, as it exemplifies collaboration and teamwork.

“The two most burdensome events to organize were undoubtedly the Countdown Competition and IBET poster,” Ji said. “Simply asking whether or not paint would be allowed for the poster drawing required a ten minute discussion with administrators, whereas the numbers accompanying the Countdown Competition were consistently changed as they needed to be in some degree, difficult, but not impossible.”

2021 Class Council selected Global Health Initiative (GHI) to be the charity for Donation Station, a fundraiser to raise donated items for disaster relief causes. GHI recognizes and accounts for the natural disasters that have catastrophically impacted the globe in 2017 and resolves this by assembling care packages to aid impoverished individuals. Throughout the entire week of IBET Wars, students may deposit clothing, toys, school supplies and hardware items which will be ultimately distributed to those who need them the most.

“With the horrendous number of hurricanes that hit us last year, this is among the most important global health issues we can focus on right now,” senior and GHI member Nira Harikrishnan said. “Because of that, we’ll be having a service event of assembling care packages to multiple countries that have been hit and are in dire need for help.”

After extensive brainstorming for the most out-of-the-box and stimulating events to belong in IBET Wars, 2021 Class Council is hopeful that their choices will prove nothing less than extraordinary.

“We truly aimed for an all-encompassing event that addresses individuals’ intellectual ability, math skills, artistic talents, visual strengths, and generosity.” Lee said. “With this in mind, we’ve produced five unique and different activities that aren’t on parallel to anything Jefferson students have witnessed before.”

Are there any events that aren’t about acquiring points?

Although on the surface, the objective seems to be making your IBET win, the 2021 Class Council has established a greater task: succeed through teamwork and unselfishness. As part of 2021 Class Council’s endeavor to unify the freshmen class, IBET Wars events centralize on class unity through Random Acts of Kindness Week and raffle tickets.

Especially in a culture and atmosphere where Jefferson students are seemingly defined by their grades, compassion can frequently be overshadowed for competition. Random Acts of Kindness Week encourages freshmen to perform selfless deeds which will hopefully produce a ripple effect, eventually to a point where freshmen will continue this on a daily basis.

“Our reputation as a class and as a school has not always been seen in the most positive light by our base school friends, neighbors, or family members,” Chen said. “However, by changing our behavior, our actions, and our words during Random Acts of Kindness Week and for the remainder of our high school career, we have the ability to improve the credibility of Jefferson Class of 2021, and of Jefferson as a whole.”

At the beginning of IBET Wars, each freshmen will receive one raffle ticket and may acquire more throughout the week by participating in spirit days or doing random acts of kindness. At the final pep rally, eight winners will be announced, where one lucky winner will receive a gift basket equipped with Jefferson spirit gear, stationery supplies and gift cards and seven others will each earn the privilege to pie a 2021 Class Council member in the face.

Although it may not seem obvious to why the raffle tickets are a moment of unity, consider winning the raffle ticket as being one of the few to find the golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It offers students the ability to pie us [2021 Class Council] in the face, spurring laughs, and later conversations. Everyone in that pep rally is sharing that moment together, where they can all look back and remember how much fun they were having,” Freshman and Class of 2021 Historian James Huang said.

Why IBET Wars?

IBET Wars is addressing this lack of unity among freshmen through events that require participation from all IBET members in order to succeed. Despite the irony in the name “IBET Wars,” these aren’t a series of battles and competitions, but an opportunity for teamwork. As a result, students should exit IBET Wars feeling compelled to provoke change together.

Apart from the objective for class unity, students will be creating memories. Whether it’s victories or failures, 2021 Class Council has guaranteed it’ll be an experience that no freshman will forget.

“When we graduate from TJ, we don’t want to remember the tests or the struggles. We want to remember this [IBET Wars],” Senator, Udbhav Muthakana said. “Your smile will fade, your cheers will silence, but the memories created during IBET Wars are going to last forever.”