By Tom Tolen /

This is Senior Survivor Week at Brighton High School, and, as such, a number of events and competitions are taking place all week. Last year, Senior Survivor Week was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the start of the week, the teams held various fund-raisers such as bottle drives and a car wash, and the students have been selling Survivor T-shirts through Kensington Valley Varsity. Students who qualified for Senior Survivor, based on their academic record and community volunteerism, have been divided into eight teams of two students apiece. The students — all members of the National Honor Society - were required to complete 20 hours of community service, eight hours of which must directly benefit the Brighton Area Schools.

On Monday the students held a relay race around the school, created team flags, and competed in a survivor trivia game. The sales winner for Monday was Team Purple, which sold snacks and beverages and tie-dyed masks. National Honor Society Advisor Kimberly Davis, who, along with Sean Carney, is the faculty co-advisor for Senior Survivor Week, said that the week has uplifted the spirits of the students in what has been a difficult year. “It’s so good to see the kids laughing and having fun,” she said.

Today, the weather should be ideal for an outdoor “lip-sync” battle to be held at The AMP on the Mill Pond in downtown Brighton beginning at 6 p.m. In the competition, each team will move their lips silently in synchronization with a prerecorded soundtrack. According to Davis, there will also be a few “surprise” teams in the lip-synch event, which will be free of charge.

Another big day during the special week will be on Wednesday when the nationally-recognized Brighton Project Unified Team will compete in various field events. In 2018, Brighton High School was named one of five exemplary high schools in the nation through the ESPN Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools' National Recognition Program.

Emily Whitlow, the Senior Survivor Committee Chair, said that many events scheduled for this year were canceled due to COVID and she’s ecstatic that Senior Survivor Week is taking place, saying it’s a "great way to end" her senior year.

During the week, the students are required to stay at the school each night and tents have been set up in the media center, complete with team lights, garlands, and team flags. Another requirement is that the tents be occupied by students of the same gender.

As of Monday, the participants had raised about $30,000 for charity, which is expected to rise rapidly. Proceeds from the events held in conjunction with Senior Survivor Week will be split between two non-profit groups: “I Will Right Now” and “Fund a Life”, which assists individuals and families experiencing financial difficulties due to medical and other issues. “I Will Right Now” was created to financially assist Brighton Area Schools families undergoing major life challenges.

Megan Foster of Team Purple said, “It was exciting to see the amount of support we were getting from all of the students, how involved everyone is in their support for ‘I Will Right Now’ and ‘Fund a Life’.” Foster said the competitiveness of the other teams makes her realize “how much they care about the community.”

Davis says she has been heartened by the enthusiasm and degree of support for Senior Survivor Week, remarking that, in her words, “It’s so good seeing them laughing and having fun.” She adds that, with the strict protocols in place for COVID, “It's the first real normalcy” she’s seen all year.

Brighton High School is home to about 2,100 students in grades 9-12.