According to Mercy High School’s extensive list of traditions on their website, Field Day is a spring spectacle featuring athletic events, funny races, and presentations by each class. The competition is fierce as classes are judged on presentation, exercise and dance performances. Students work hard, uniting under class captains and themes, each class vying for the coveted Field Day trophy.
An IND transfer myself, I was not 100% sure about what to expect. My last field day in middle school was a simple day of games across the blacktop and a picnic on the field. A quick glance at the description provided by Mercy let me know the event was much more extensive than that. And even more importantly, that it was cherished.
The week leading up to the big day, my phone was overwhelmed with reminders and pushes to participate. The girls were evidently ecstatic and brimming over with anticipation. After the event, pictures displaying posters, costumes, and big smiles flooded every social media.
Of course, due to the circumstances, alterations and precautions were put into place in this year’s executions. I spoke with Ms. Bossle ‘91 who served as coordinator of the event.
What were the main factors in play regarding student and staff safety?
“Safety was a top priority in reconfiguring Field Day 2021. All equipment was sanitized before the event. Everyone had to wear a mask throughout the day. Events were created or changed to reflect the safety of our students. As for food, each student brought their own lunch and drinks for the day.”
What was the most difficult part about planning a successful Field Day amid a pandemic?
“Thinking about all the small details for running an efficient, safe, and fun event and communicating the necessary information and sign-ups to the student body. I met with Ms. Blakeslee and Ms. Marion earlier in the planning process to establish main protocols and to discuss “safe” events. We made decisions to not run certain events this year, like all the cooperative races, because social distancing was not possible. We also added some new events that would be socially distant and fun.”
What was the most rewarding part of this process?
“Seeing the students full of spirit cheering on their classmates and having fun. We all needed some fun in a year like we have had. Thanks goes to all those that helped run the day successfully…the class teams and extra faculty that came out each day. A special thanks to Ms. Marion, Mr. Gill, Mr. Salvatore, and Ms. Standiford who helped on both Field Days. A special thanks to Ms. Cummings for helping me create the sign-up genius for students to sign up for field day races and events.”
Though I was not in attendance, fellow IND transfer Alex N. ‘21 was. Below she briefly shares a reflection on her first and final Field Day.
Did you have any specific expectations going into the event?
“All of the Mercy friends I made constantly raved about Field Day. So I had a lot of expectations about the energy going in.”
Were they met? Even exceeded?
“Yes. Even with things being different due to COVID, I still had an amazing time. I got closer to and met a lot of new people. I’m glad I was able to experience it, I had a lot of fun.”
Field Day looks to be one of the last few compromises before a return to normalcy, aligning with the dawn of a new hope. Vaccination numbers are on a steady incline with eligibility broadening. Assuming the majority will be vaccinated by the next academic year, fingers are crossed that this will be the first and final Field Day amid a pandemic.