By J1 Reporter Ellen Everett
Traditionally, Field Day season gets very competitive between Marian girls and their classes. Sadly, negative posts on social media and rude words directed toward other classes are a part of the months leading up to Field Day. The drama had gotten so out of hand that principal Mrs. Susie Sullivan knew something had to be done to diffuse the tension. That’s why the Espirit de Corps group was founded.
When Ms. Jess Abel, mathematics tutor, and Mrs. Mary Steiner, assistant director of Student Services, were called to be the heads of Student Board at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, Mrs. Sullivan introduced them to the idea of having an anonymous team of 15 teachers to report any negative conversations from girls about their class, other classes, or anything to do with Field Day from the start of Color Block. Abel gave reasoning for this new addition, “It (drama) just got so out of hand, because you girls are so competitive.” These teachers are selected to report to Sullivan about any negative remarks about other classes. Abel said the teachers were called to report positivity too, “We told them to also focus on kindness that’s happening throughout the building.” Mrs. Sullivan oversees the social media side of it, since she already receives many negative social media posts from concerned parents every week. When students were told of the “spies”, they were sure to keep their rude comments to themselves and have a better attitude. Since the team is kept anonymous, girls have had their guesses as to who they are. Most of the guesses are Mrs. Marsha Kalkowski, Ms. Megan Han, Mrs. Stacy Tunink, Mrs. Rhonda Ronspies, Sister Jackie Thorn or Sister Margaret Butcha, Mrs. Amy McLeay, and Mr. Matthew Winterboer, teachers at Marian High School, are among the group of “spies.”
Sullivan also had the idea of making this an actual Field Day event. The 2019 Field Day Rule Book states, “The Spirit Award will be awarded to a class based on outstanding dedication, initiative, motivation, and a positive attitude during field week.” Points will be given to classes based on their helpfulness to other classes, morale and teamwork, and points will be deducted in cases of tattling, parent phone calls or emails, yelling at classmates or teachers, and drama.
Girls started using the term “unity” in all their conversations about anything remotely related to Field Day. Groups of girls banded together last year to make bracelets, posters for lockers or cookies for other classes in the name of unity and hopefully winning the Spirit Award in 2018. This year, cookies, bracelets, and chalk drawings were made in support of other classes. Girls also helped other classes on their mascots. The Class of 2018 won their senior year, the first trial year of this committee. Again this year, the senior class took home this award. Since Field Day is supposed to be all about teamwork and unity, Sullivan wanted it to return to its roots. Each class working together to be more positive and cooperative has proved Sullivan’s ideas to be a success.