Past, Present, and Future of Marian Field Day Come Together in Tradition

By J1 Reporter Bella Beck

It’s April of 1992. You and your friends are walking down your class hall while other students are decorating the walls with the nominated Field Day class theme. Some are running to get supplies, others are practicing their hearts out to their demonstration songs. It’s chaos, but spirited. It’s Marian Field Week.

This was how Cristen (Wuebben) Claussen of the Class of 1992 celebrated a normal day of her Marian Field Week. Very similar to current Field Day, Claussen explains “a typical Field Week was classes in the morning, and then every afternoon we would spend working on a part of Field Day, whether it be the float or the music, cheerleaders or costumes.” 

But how was it different? According to Claussen, it was a norm to march down to Benson Park on the morning of Field Day, rather than drive to the current Baxter Arena. As they walked down the closed streets, they would chant and sing, preparing to perform in a field at the park near 69th and Military Avenue. 

The excitement and competitiveness of Field Day has stayed the same throughout the years. “I think my favorite memory was the anticipation to see if you’re going to win,” Claussen says, relating to many Marian girls. She agrees that the cherished day still has “a lot of value and competitiveness.” Claussen and her senior class ended up winning Field Day as the “Senioritas.”

Claussen has kept one thing with her since her high school years. “When I was in high school, I thought this was a fun week to get off school and do fun things. But as an adult, I’m realizing how much value that week brought to my adult life.” She relates her four Field Weeks to her work life, describing that in the workplace, she has to work in groups, manage her time wisely, present well, and work on a budget. Field Week has taught her this. “I think while a lot of people on the outside might look and think, ‘Wow you guys are getting to goof around for a whole week,’ Marian is really using that to build life skills into their women. I’ve really appreciated the life skills that I’ve gotten out of that as I’ve gotten older.”

Cristen Claussen (on the right, waving) marches to Benson Park with her class, the “Senioritas,” in 1992. Photo courtesy of Claussen.

Marian girls today begin Field Week with spirit in their hearts. Each class practices their songs daily, decorates their own wall space in the Marian gym, and prepares to end Field Week in the best way possible. The relationships built during this passion-filled week are a student-favorite and junior Alex Hoehne agrees. “My favorite part of Field Week was working together with all of my classmates,” Hoehne says, describing her freshman year. But her next Field Week was a virtual let down.

How has Field Day changed from that year and how could it change in the future? During the unusual pandemic Field Week in 2020, traditions were altered to be done from home so spirit could stay alive. Hoehne participated in these by decorating her sidewalk with chalk, tie-dyeing shirts, and baking cookies. 

Junior Katie McKeon even describes how much Field Week has changed since her older family members went to Marian. “My mom and my aunts went to Marian … and it’s changed with now having it at Baxter instead of at a park.”

In the future, McKeon says she believes there will be aspects of technology brought into Field Day, but Hoehne thinks the tradition of the event will stay the same. 

With the current pandemic, even tomorrow seems unclear. So what does Field Day look like to a prospective Marian student? Tessie Biros, who will graduate from high school in 2026, has guesses. From what she knows, Field Day now is “a competition between classes and everyone has a good day that day.” She assumes that in the future, the amount of people present will have to change. Overall, Biros hopes to be able to build and create friendships and she expects “a lot of good bonding between friends and classmates.”

COVID-19 has changed so many traditions, and Marian students– whether they are alumnae, current students, or future students– are beginning to expect change. Even in today’s world, though, they will always love and cherish the bonding experience every student gets to go through. As Claussen said, even with a pandemic, “the essence of what Field Week is trying to accomplish is still there.”

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