What About 100?

Frani O’Toole  Horse drawn carriages, fireworks, and an entire pit filled with ping-pong balls: Latin planned its 100th anniversary to be the event of a lifetime. But can you only have one event of a lifetime? As the school celebrates another landmark year, we have a chance to look at the two festivities and the different Latins they reflect. To understand more about Latin’s 1988 celebration, I interviewed seven Upper School faculty members who remember the event. Gathered in this article are some of their recollections that, while they may seem more about the past, offer unique insight into Latin’s values today. First there was the parade. What they may have lacked in Dr. Seuss hats, funky glasses, and togas, the organizers in 1988 compensated for with a white horse-drawn carriage. Atop the carriage sat the principal, dressed as Robert Peck Bates, accompanied by a woman dressed as Mabel Slade Vickery. The parade had other, less-historically accurate, aspects as well. Ms. Dragonetti says she remembers the “kids decorating cars like a suburban high school,” and students riding in a school bus with their handprints on it. Ms. Baughman had a convertible at the time, and she and Ms. Sampey drove it through the parade while tossing candy. Ms. Ross remembers floats; no say on whether Ferris Bueller made an appearance on one of them singing “Twist and Shout,” though this was the 80s so there may have been a few leopard print vests. Mr. Bower remembers the pep rally, which was held on the turf. He says the festivities included a bonfire, fireworks, and a live band. Mr. Bower also remembers a flag-football game between Latin and Parker faculty members. Yes, to answer your question, Mr. Fript did play. He was a lineman. Mr. Bower was the quarterback, and he threw the winning touchdown to Mr. Burnett, the guidance counselor. I think we’re long overdue for another win. In addition to the parade and pep rally, Latin celebrated in other extravagant ways. Ms. Ross remembers that the school filled the gym with dominoes, and then dropped one to create a domino effect. Then they filled the pit with ping pong balls placed in mouse trap contraptions that they released simultaneously. Ms. Ross describes the 1988 festivities as, overall, “really fun and playful. It was the right thing for that time, and what we’re doing this year is right for now.” Though there were some traditional elements —Mr. Giosh remembers a “big dinner/reception at a hotel” —it seems the extravagance of the 100th anniversary makes this year’s celebration understated in comparison. In spite of all this, many of the faculty members I interviewed believed that there has been more school spirit this year. That, I think, is a remarkable testament to both the school and Mr. Dunn: Ms. Dorer says that “there’s an elevated interest this year […] back then we weren’t led by someone who is as visibly interested in the past, present, and future of the school [ as Mr. Dunn is]. He’s our school’s biggest cheerleader.” Mr. Fript attributes some of the increased enthusiasm to our school’s evolution into a more “intellectual,” “diverse,” and “open” community. It seems anniversaries like 100 and 125 aren’t just landmarks, but markers for how far we’ve come and how much we can grow.]]>