Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament Builds Connections Between Students and Teachers

Students decide whether they would like to compete with each other for beads in the E2 hallway after the fire drill.
Students decide whether they would like to compete with each other for beads in the E2 hallway after the fire drill.
Lisa Wang

On March 22 during 3rd and 4th block, State High students and teachers participated in a schoolwide rock-paper-scissors tournament. To play the game, students started with a green beaded necklace which was handed out during lunch periods. 

Playing the game was similar to a regular game of rock-paper-scissors, but instead of students playing simply for bragging rights, they gained their opponent’s beads. Teachers were also able to participate in the game, however, instead of wearing green beads, they wore gold beads. Each gold necklace was equivalent to 5 green necklaces, so students needed 5 green necklaces to play against a teacher. This rule allowed students and teachers to play together and create connections through the game.

The game was organized by the State High Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, with English teacher Jennifer Evans at the helm. As the PBIS coach, Evans works with other staff members to help foster a positive school climate for both students and teachers. 

“Believe it or not, every month there has been an activity, and we don’t always call it PBIS because the name feels lame, but we have been doing events to make sure that our students and our staff feel comfortable, engaged, and valued,” Evans said. 

In the past, the group has organized school events like the Fall Festival, the Mental Health Summits, the December doorway competition, and the monthly birthday treat celebrations. 

Drawing from these past events and from other sources like recent TikTok trends and the Jostens Renaissance program, the PBIS team planned the rock-paper-scissors tournament as a way to heighten school spirit through building bonds between students and teachers. 

“For the rock-paper-scissors tournament specifically, you know, we’re trying to have some fun. We’re trying to promote sportsmanship, fair play,” Evans said. “Having opportunities to exhibit good character are always important, and I am excited that every single person in the building will have access to play.”

Ultimately, the decision on whether students could play was up to their 3rd and 4th block teachers, but many students were able to play during lunch or the fire drill during 4th block. 

Junior Vinnie Lafrazza-Schwartz described the excitement he experienced from winning a gold necklace from history teacher Alexander Kimbro during the fire drill.

“So what happened was, he [Kimbro] was going home, and I didn’t have any beads to use actually. He was like, ‘Alright, if you beat me 3 out of 5, you can have these gold beads.’ So I did it, and I took the gold beads, and that’s what happened,” Lafrazza-Schwartz said.

Vincent Lafrazza-Schwartz leaving his battle with Mr. Kimbro during the fire drill. He won a set of gold beads after beating Kimbro 3 to 5. In that experience Lafrazza-Schwartz learned that “it’s fun to take a break from school things sometimes and just be with the people you’re with.” (Lisa Wang)

This experience was more than just a fun game and taught Lafrazza-Schwartz lessons that can be used throughout the rest of the school year. “I think I’ve learned that it’s fun to take a break from school things sometimes and just be with the people you’re with,” Lafrazza-Schwartz said. “I thought [playing with teachers] was a good piece of the game, you know, getting to interact with others.” 

Freshman and sophomore Learning Enrichment teacher Sheila Abruzzo also described the bonds formed between teachers and students through the rock-paper-scissors tournament, as well as those that specifically arose from the fire drill. 

“The fire drill gave a really good opportunity to interact with people. I think probably that [playing rock-paper-scissors] wasn’t what we were supposed to be doing, but everyone was doing it and it was really fun,” Abruzzo said. 

Abruzzo also mentioned a specific instance she had playing the game with unfamiliar students, describing the experience as a highlight of the game. “What I liked the best about [the tournament] was that kids were coming up to me that don’t know me at all and saying, ‘I challenge you.’ And then if they lost, they were coming back and saying, ‘I’m going to get you.’ So it felt like I was building relationships with people that I didn’t know before, and I really enjoyed that,” Abruzzo said. 

Ultimately, the rock-paper-scissors tournament was successful in bringing students and teachers together, in turn heightening school spirit and community. Evans hopes to build on the momentum from the event, as well as other PBIS events, with more events held throughout the spring. 

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