A Memorable Derby Week for Goshen

Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus, Director of the SFS Drama Project

Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus, Director of the SFS Drama Project

Last week was “Derby-riffic” on the Goshen Campus! Wednesday brought one of our favorite Goshen traditions – the Kindergarten Derby! And to kick it off, we had our own “Oaks” of sorts, our first-ever KPDerby_12Preschool Derby (where we literally DID have three-year olds running!). The Kindergarten Derby, much like the real event, is full of regalia and pageantry – with only a touch of the rowdiness. Our JKers start us off by showing off their ponies, followed by the 1st and 2nd Grade Parade around our front circle! In a new twist this year, we had our first-ever Derby Princess, Harper Tillet, looking resplendent with her flowery bouquet while she helped Alexandra Thurstone kick off the parade! And then the main event: seven action-packed races in which all of our Kindergarten students run around the front circle to cavernous applause! And I think it is worth mentioning that I saw an article in the newspaper last week about another school’s version of this in which the fastest child actually wins the race. So the fastest runner is rewarded and the other “horses” lose? Our culture is that everyone cheers for all the horses and running the race is what is celebrated. It’s too bad we can’t “upload” that concept into more of our culture! And finally, our 8th grade class takes one final “victory lap” around the circle, nine years after many of them ran as “yearlings” (a cute moment for them no doubt, a little more touching and nostalgic for the older set). Thanks to our Kindergarten and Lower School teachers for making it such a memorable day, as always.

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Who are those adults in disguise at the 7th/8th grade formal?

The next night brought another St Francis treasure, the 7th and 8th grade formal dance!
This year’s dance was held at Gingerwoods Reception Hall in Prospect (courtesy of Morton and Hope Boyd!) and the room was transformed into a beautiful gold and black spectacle for a “Night Under the Stars”! Nearly all of our students attended, and the atmosphere is so overwhelmingly wholesome you just have to be there to feel it for yourself. BIG thanks to Shelly Jones, Erin Staley, Kim Aberle, and Heather Varda for doing just that as chaperones. Bob and Gabby Smedley did their usual terrific job as our disc jockeys, and the photo booth supplied by Dace and Ben Maki, with TONS of outrageous costumes, was a huge hit too! Our 7th grade Prince and Princess were Connor Gorman and Olivia Beach, and the 8th grade King and Queen, the “Royals,” were Angus Middleton and Arabella Maki (all chosen by blind draw). The dance was another smashing success and a tremendous example of student buy-in and parent and faculty involvement.

Pair these events with another incident-free and successful 8th grade lock-in Thursday night (courtesy of Jason Chlopek, Lindsy Serrano, and Celeste Avery), and yet another “epic” Derby Camp weekend hosted by the inimitable Walter Denham, with help from Bob Bertke, Tina Brown and Andrew Frechette, and you can see it was a St. Francis Derby weekend. As a special surprise when I arrived at school Monday morning, I discovered what the 8th grade “cobbler’s elves” left for me in my office. Three-year old fillies and colts never grow up, it appears!

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