New School Field Day Tradition Lives On

When the Nantucket New School opened its doors in 1985 it created a tradition that has carried on ever since: a bi-annual field day event. But last year the event was cancelled twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You take things for granted,” Head of School Todd Eveleth said. “Every time we do something that is similar but not the same it makes us think back and say ‘man wouldn’t it be great to have a good old fashioned field day again? Here we are today and now, will it be identical to how it was before? No, but it will be really close. The kids are so excited about it and so are we. It is going to be a lot of fun getting kids out there working hard, having fun. It will be a great way to officially kick off this school year.”

The event involves every student from kindergarten through eighth grade. The eighth graders lead the day and come up with eight to ten events based on the resources the school has that given year. This year, the younger students had an opportunity to throw water balloons in the faces of eighth grade students.

“It is at its busiest from 8:30 am to noon,” Eveleth said. “The eighth graders do all the preparations, all the posters, arrange all the events. Then all the teams get dressed up in crazy uniforms and they have at it.”

“It is friendly competition. It is different year to year but some of the events we often do are water balloon toss, obstacle races, tricycle races, free throw shooting contests, you name it.”

The New School has a student population of 166 students, Eveleth said, and he feels like the return of field day is the first step towards the school regaining its identity.

“We have been very lucky to be in-person school-wise throughout the pandemic but we don’t crossover a lot,” he said. “We are such a small school so we have a program called ‘big friend, little friend’ where our older students get matched up and mentor younger students but we haven’t been able to do that because of COVID and the risk of potentially giving one another the virus.”

“We are a very nurturing community that provides as much crossover with students as we can. That has really been taken away from us until now. Getting them all together, in a group, working as a unit, as a team, and have some fun along with it is a huge step for us. We are fired up.”

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