By Amalia Gradie '17
A birthday is a celebration of a life. Athenian’s life spans 50 years and the celebration of this achievement gave birth to a color coordinated, fun-filled Field Day.
Field Day was the brainchild of the Advancement Office and led by Special Assistant to Head and Director of Summer Programs Nancy Nagarmada and Assistant Director of Athletics Dani Oswood. Much like the Community Building Day that the Middle School participates in annually, Field Day focused on bringing the Athenian community together, but with new elements like the combination of Upper and Middle School, the competition, and the color coordinated teams.
The planning began in mid July and August with a vague idea that transformed into a complex day of organized activities that spanned the campus.
“We really started doing the planning probably about a week and a half before meetings started in those two and a half weeks leading up to it,” Oswood said.
From basketball to an inflatable hamster ball race, the day had a game for everyone. A memorable favorite, the hamster ball became a source of great excitement. It involved two clear, plastic balls around 8 feet tall in which students would race against the other team.
“I love watching people run around the hamster balls; it’s hilarious,” Z Romero ‘19 said.
The Giant Jenga room was filled with relieved laughter and anxious gasps as players and onlookers alike held their breath as each new block was removed. The water relay was cosisted of encouraging shouts, splashes, and triumphant yells as each participant swam their hardest. Athenian Jeopardy quizzed students on their knowledge of the school’s history while the obstacle course tested students agility and speed.
Teams were coordinated by color and made from a combination of advisories from the Middle School and Upper Sschool. This way, the students came together for some fun-filled friendly competition. However, due to logistical reasons, two major groups were formed consisting of 10th through 12th graders and another of sixth through ninth graders.
“There are 164 middle schoolers and 340 upper schoolers. So the plan was for people to get the most use from all the activities,” Oswood said. “So if you brought that one class [the ninth graders] down, that 75 [students] made our numbers pretty close to 225 each.”
There was also an equal ability issue to consider.
“And, for half of those ninth graders the middle schoolers would already know them,” Oswood said. “And the reason we couldn’t just have everyone just compete is obviously you can’t have sixth graders compete against most eleventh and twelfth graders. It wasn’t a perfect solution to it but it kind of made the ability of people to participate more equally across the board a little bit easier.”
Nevertheless, the competition brought out the community’s vibrancy and encouraged students to engage in the day.
“It was really fun; it was really competitive,” Faven Brook ‘17 said about the Moving Sculptures game, adopted from a Middle School Community Building Day.
The competition worked to bring the school closer, even when the excitement was overwhelming.
“At the end [of the competition] everyone said, ‘its ok we are all just one Athenian community,’” Hunter Barr ‘17 said. “It was really cool.”
Athenian’s vibrant community was at its best. The team spirit and school wide enthusiasm was obvious in the laughter and excitement. The structured part of the day ended with an all-school tug of war on the soccer field.
“I thought the tug of war… at the end was fantastic and to have all the groups come together. It was one of the few spots where they were all in the same place, ” Oswood said.
Having had success this year, Nagramada and Oswood said that they hope Field Day will be repeated next year as a way to unite the the two schools and work together to build the vibrant community that makes Athenian truly special.