The class of ’23 enjoys the planned events despite changes over the years
Tradition is a word that is used often on campus. For seniors, traditions are in no short supply. Before the school year even formally starts the senior class begins their “lasts” with a final all-grade trip to ESD’s ranch, Wolf Run, for leadership programming. And from then on, the class participates in Rally Days as another final way to celebrate the students before matriculation. During these days, seniors are allowed to dress in parent-association-chosen theme clothes, and the day is complete with catered lunch and games in the courtyard attached to senior hall.
Changes were recently made to this long-standing tradition. While they were once held monthly, they now take place only four times a year. With the changes, the students appear to appreciate the Rally Days more.
Senior class dean Marcela Garcini remembers when Rally Days were held more frequently. She finds that now, with them being held less frequently, the class is more engaged.
“Since being here, I remember having rallies every single month,” Garcini said. “Honestly, that came to a point where the kids were not excited anymore.”
Garcini cites the expense for the activities as also being one of the reasons why they were planned to occur less frequently. According to Amy Swift, a member of the ESD parent’s association, the last rally day budget was roughly $1800, but a definitive number could not be given as many of the parents took it upon themselves to pay for individual items.
“There was [once] a time where we had an armadillo race,” Garcini said. “The expense was getting out of control.”
Senior Rally Days are funded by both the ESD parent’s association and the school. According to Garcini, the association is integral to fundraising in order to sponsor these days.
“[The parents association] does a lot of things,” Garcini said. “They do all the fundraising. I think their work is really important, especially for the rally days.”
Beyond the strain of previous expenses, teachers had found that more Rally Days were also distracting to the regular school day.
“The kids go late to class,” Garcini said. “They tried to control that a little bit more, so they have four a year.”
Alumni also remember the Rally Days fondly, feeling they were a crucial part of the senior experience at ESD. They remember them for their ability to bring the entire class together.
“I loved Rally Days,” alumna Victoria Hammett ’17 said. “It was the highlight of my senior year. I think it was so great to watch all of the parents get involved and to see the whole community come together.”
As underclassmen, the days are another part of being a senior that they look forward to. Since it’s been marked as a tradition, the days hold a greater degree of importance to younger students.
“I think it’s part of a tradition now,” Garcini said. “It’s something that people are expecting. I think when you are an underclassman you are looking forward to the rally days. And it’s always fun.”
Members of the current senior class have enjoyed the two Rally Days they have had so far in the year. Complete with a state fair dress theme, a chicken and waffles food truck and a mechanical bull. Those who celebrated birthdays during that rally day received a custom monogrammed boot jack. Of the two rally days, this was senior Jake Swift’s favorite.
“I don’t even think it can get better than what we had,” Swift said. “We had over-the-top decorations, great dress days, great food, great games. You know, we got it all. We’ve got good parents who do it all.”
Community members especially enjoy the days for their ability to bring parents of the celebrated seniors to campus. The teachers and students enjoy the bonding that occurs across the whole community, not just from within the senior class.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Garcini said. “You have the parents here for the kids they are celebrating. I think just for celebrating the senior class, you know the kids are being celebrated for birthdays. I think it’s a good gathering. It’s the whole class together.”
Rally days have been, and will continue to be important to those who have been an ESD senior. Those who have been a part of them enjoy looking back and remembering the days.