Demo, costumes, mascot, cheer, walls, judges booklet. These may just be some random words to most people, but to Marian students, they scream two words: Field Day. This is one of Marian’s most long-lasting and highly-anticipated traditions.
Field Day is something that makes Marian unique from any school in the nation. It brings students together and teaches life skills. “There is a connection with every single alumna that ever went to Marian. It is such a learning environment. It’s collaborative, it’s creative, it’s group work. If Field Day is anything, it’s all those things,” President Mary Higgins ’69 said.
There is no other school in the country that has a Field Day like Marian, but have you ever wondered if there’s a school that does something similar?
Maryvale Preparatory, an all girls Catholic middle school and high school in Baltimore, MD has a tradition close to Field Day called Gym Meet.
Maryvale, home to 380 students, was founded in 1945 and is run by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Their Gym Meet was started in the 1950s by a PE teacher. Like Field Day, it takes place in the spring.
Gym Meet entails something similar to Marian Field Day’s demo. There are typical field games in the morning and Gym Meet in the afternoon. “The middle school is split into two teams, Red and Grey, while the high schoolers compete against each other by grade,” Maryvale Dean of Students and Upper School Assistant Head Jessica Randisi said.
Students come up with new themes each year, but keep their two class colors that they decide their freshman year for the duration of high school. A demonstration is performed where they march in formations and sing three songs that follow their class’ theme. The winners, voted by alumnae, receive a special felt banner, and one girl from each class gets a spirit award voted by the students.
Marian Field Day started similarly to Gym Meet in that typical field day games were played and it was held outside. Students paraded down to Benson Park with floats and a softball game was played by the girls, which played a large role in points earned. Eventually, the softball game and activities were replaced with the large arena event we know all too well today.
Randisi said that the purpose of Gym Meet is sisterhood, leadership, teamwork and community-building. When asked about her thoughts on the similarities of Field Day and Gym Meet, she said, “I think it’s really cool. I wish I had thought about this before; I hope to maintain a relationship with Marian.”
Higgins shares a similar opinion of another all-girls school doing something like Field Day. “Good for them. I think it’s a really healthy thing for the student body, even though the classes are competitive against each other. It brings the classes together, but in the bigger picture, you really feel a bond with the overall school,” Higgins said.
Senior class officer Lexxi Olsen, who has helped lead Field Day since her freshman year, said that Field Day is a unique and special part of going to Marian and helps students work together and solve problems with each other. “I feel like our Field Day brings our class so much closer, because we all want to reach the same goal. It’s a great way to bond with your class and school and I think more all-girls private schools should do this,” Olsen said.
Although there are distinctions between Field Day and Gym Meet, the idea and purpose are alike in that they provide unity and community between the girls, classes and school as a whole. Marian and Maryvale are 1,164 miles apart, yet somehow have something so uniquely in common that creates a connection between the schools that not many other high schools have.