Sarah Meklir 

Staff Writer

This year, Pizza Wars marked the official start to Hammond’s 2019-20 Spirit Week. The four classes competed to see who could eat the most pizzas by the end of the night. After a hard-fought battle—and a whole lot of pizza consumed—the final tally was as follows: 

First Place: 2020

Second Place: 2022

Third Place: 2021

Fourth Place: 2023

Seniors in the class of 2020 prevailed by a large margin. After taking an early lead, they sustained that initial momentum throughout the competition. 29 seniors independently devoured entire pies and made it onto the “Bragging Board.” Three students went above and beyond the call of duty, eating two 8-slice pies each. 

Isaiah Olujide, one of those three, predicted the win for his class. “Of course the seniors are gonna end up on top. That’s not even a question, that’s for sure.” This sentiment was shared by Malik Shuaib, fellow senior and dual-pie consumer. “2020 is [going to win], obviously. We’re winning right now, and we’re gonna keep winning. That’s the motto for this year.” 

Across the competition, most people with their names on the “Bragging Board” shared two thoughts. First, humans aren’t designed to eat full pizzas in one sitting:

“[I ate] An entire pizza. I’m not feeling good. Not feeling good at all.” -Sam Van Bemmel (2022)

“I ate a whole pizza, and then almost a second. [I feel] dead inside.” -Ali Ahmed (2022)

“I ate a whole box. Yeah, I’m hurting right now.” -Riley Woodward (2023)

But the upperclassmen felt the sacrifice was worth it for the good of their class:

“I ate two whole boxes of cheese pizza. I feel horrible. But I also feel great because it’s a point scored for my class.” -Malik Shauib (2020) 

“I ate one whole pizza. Cheese. It felt… empowering.” -Skylar Shaffer (2021)

“I ate 16 slices, two boxes. I’m feeling terrible, but… it’s worth it.” -Isaiah Olujide (2020)

The class of 2022 won second place in an upset over 2021. “It was neck and neck between the sophomores and juniors,” explained Ms. Pfanstiel, who coordinated the event. 

Mr. Livieratos expressed his hope for the sophomores to extend their upward trajectory into Spirit Week. “These sophomores are very organized and what they got done on their first day of spirit week was super impressive. I think it’s going to be an amazing competition. The freshmen are great this year, and as always, the juniors and seniors are gonna do awesome. It’s anyone’s game, so I’m excited to see who ends up on top.” 

In the end, however, Mr. Livieratos remained dedicated to the seniors. “The seniors will dominate…. Personally, I ate one pizza. It went to the senior class.” His airtight reasoning? “Because.” He eventually elaborated with, “Because I love them.” 

Malik Shauib commented on this as well, explaining the teacher’s motives. “He actually ate a pizza for our class. We didn’t do anything, he just loves our class. Yeah.” Both opted not to respond to claims of bribery. 

Now that Spirit Week’s begun, students can look forward to six days of intense competition and inexorable amounts of Hammond spirit. When asked about what makes Hammond’s Spirit Week so special, Vice Principal Mr. DiFato replied, “Literally everyone participates. Some schools, they do wacky-tacky day and you have maybe 50% participation… But here, you get pointed out if you don’t dress up. Everybody participates every day, and they go all-out. The seniors take the time to tell the freshmen what to expect so they know to go all-out. And that’s unique.” 

Students agreed. According to senior Isaiah Olujide, “Spirit Week is a time where we can all come together and participate in one holistic activity we all bond over.” Junior Skylar Shaffer added, “We pave the way for every other Howard County spirit week. No other school can compare to us. We are the mother of spirit week in Howard county.”