Coming from a public elementary school, the concept of Field Day was very familiar to me. It tended to be a day where the naturally athletic kids thrived, and those who weren’t (like me), were left in the literal dust. Coming in as a new sixth grader to Notre Dame Prep, a catholic, all-girls school, I assumed Middle Level Field Day would be more of the same. To my delight, NDP’s Field Day proved to be something special and ended up being one of my favorite Middle Level traditions. I looked forward to it every single year.
One of the best parts of Field Day at NDP was how it began way before the actual event (something that continues today). Days before, every Middle Level student was assigned to a team with a different color. To prepare the ultimate Field Day outfits, girls tie-dyed t-shirts, gathered ribbons, headbands, socks, and just about anything wearable with their colors. Color teams and Advisories collaborated for the event. Each advisory prepared a cheer/song and dance routine that was performed in front of the full Middle Level to kick off the festivities! By the time the much-anticipated Field Day rolled around, we couldn’t wait to watch all the routines. One of my favorite memories was watching Science Teacher, Mrs. Susan Cahill, and members of her homeroom perform a funny song about just how much they loved advisory. Lastly, the games began! Students split off into their colored teams to compete in games such as wand women, three-legged race, dizzy Lizzy, egg run, and many more.
By the time we closed out the eighth-grade year, our classmates had formed a tight sisterhood, made hilarious memories, and learned the binding power of teamwork. Each year we were placed on a new team with different classmates, ones with whom we may have never interacted with before. We learned to always welcome teammates with open arms because with each new girl was a new and fun experience.
My best friend, Eleni Chakales ’17, and I met 13 years ago at Notre Dame Prep. When I recently asked about her memories of Field Day, she was as fond of this tradition as I. “Some of my favorite memories from middle school happened during Field Day. It really gave us a chance to bond as a class in new and fun ways”, she shared.
At the end of Field Day, you are left with a little sweat, a big smile, and a t-shirt signed by all your classmates (because why would we just stop at tie dye?). Over time the signatures on my shirt have faded, but the memories and friendships of Field Day never have.
Submitted by Oliva Baker, current NDP art teacher and class of 2017 alumnae