The 2016 Totem Spirit candidates from back left

The 2016 Totem Spirit candidates from back left

Totem Spirit spreads in lead up to basketball tournament

Five Totem Spirit candidates have been working hard to spread Totem and school spirit in hopes of winning the crown on Saturday night.

Totem Spirit candidates are busy spreading school spirit and promoting the long-running Totem Tournament in the lead up to the three-day event.

The Totem 62 Tournament, that runs from Thursday, Jan. 5 to Saturday, Jan. 7, will see 16 senior boys’ and girls’ basketball teams take to the courts of the Alberni District Secondary School gym and the Athletic Hall to compete for top spot.

Totem Spirit is a competition between Grade 12 students, who choose to run, that encourages candidates to enlighten younger students about the tournament, promote the event around the high school and throughout the community.

This year, five female students are running for the crown, each representing a different ADSS team or class.

The candidates include Theresa Gingras representing ABC News, Morgan Dagenais with the Alberni wrestling team, Sydney Fenn with the Alberni soccer team, Paige Tardif with the Alberni dance team and Maho Nakamura with the cheerleaders.

“The competition is actually from the Miss Port Alberni competition. It was integrated into Totem,” Dagenais said. “Fifty some years ago it used to be kind of like a pageant, so it’s kind of like that now but it’s more surrounding community, Totem culture and really promoting Totem.”

In addition to promoting school and Totem spirit, the candidates hope to gain awareness for their groups.

Tardif with the dance team, said she was encouraged to run for Totem Spirit from former dance team members who ran in past years.

“Everybody who has ran for the dance team says it’s really fun and it will be a good experience, so I thought why not,” Tardif said. “It really helped more people join the dance team. We had seven [members] last year now we have 19.”

Gingras said she chose to run because she wants to gain more recognition for ABC News around the high school, a class she has taken for three years.

“I want this experience to be a part of my senior year,” Gingras said. “School spirit is one of the things I love so why not be a part of the tradition we have here.”

Nakamura said she didn’t know what Totem was until she joined the cheer team three years ago.

“It was really fun because I got involved more throughout the community and throughout the school,” Nakamura said. “I got more involved with spirit and I thought why not run for Totem.”

Fenn, representing the Armada soccer team, hopes to garner more awareness for the team and get more girls out to play.

“I like helping out the community to get the word out there,” Fenn said.

A Totem Spirit winner will be crowned on Saturday night after the final game is played.