Lincoln Academy Winter Carnival is one of those events you almost have to see to believe. Traditionally held during the week before February vacation, Winter Carnival is a week of themes and events, woven around regular classes. What is unusual about Lincoln Academy’s version of this tradition is not the actual events, which might happen at any high school around the country, but the level of participation and enthusiasm among the LA student body.
Each day during the week of Winter Carnival over 250 students–more than half the school’s population–dress up for the daily theme, whether that is pajama day, clash day, twin day, impersonation day, or black and white (Lincoln’s School colors) day.
Each afternoon during Winter Carnival, classes are shortened to end the day 30 minutes early. Students are dismissed and all 550 of them head to the LA gym for the day’s festivities. These include an obstacle course, dodgeball, quiz bowl, and various other team events, culminating with the snowy tug-of-war on the track field. A snow sculpture competition, judged by visual art teachers Jonathan Mess and Nina Sylvia, is ongoing throughout the week. This year the week culminated with a Semi Formal Dance on Friday evening.
Phil Page ‘71 knows more about LA’s recent history than anyone. He says Winter Carnival has been going on for more than 50 years at Lincoln. “It’s one of the two times a year (with Homecoming) when school spirit gets as high as it ever does. It is the fever pitch of the year. It’s the middle of winter, and kids love the competition, plus, so many sports teams are involved in post season activities, and it is right before vacation. It’s a good tradition.”
“School attendance during winter carnival is among the best of the year,” says English teacher Bryan Manahan, who has been teaching at Lincoln Academy for 16 years. “There might be a temptation to take off the last few days before break, go skiing early. But students just love this week. There is great energy on campus. Can’t you feel it?”
The energy is undeniable. Each day during the week of Winter Carnival the halls of LA are packed with smiling faces, and there is a buzz surrounding the afternoon challenges and the daily costume tally.
“Everyone loves winter Carnival,” said junior Kate Laemmle. “I guess it is a good way to chase away the winter blues.”
Students compete for points that accumulate throughout the week. The competition takes place between classes, and the class with the most total points walks away with bragging rights as “Winter Carnival Winners.” While seniors traditionally dominate, this year the freshman class took an unexpected early lead.
“Seniors have a natural advantage,” says Page, “They have been here before. Four years experience of being an Eagle is an advantage. They know how to bond as a class. The freshmen are just getting to know each other.” Does that mean he is predicting another senior victory? “I wouldn’t dare make a prediction. This year’s seniors are a small class, but a close-knit class. These guys won the faculty shield competition as juniors, and they are looking to repeat But the freshman class did a nice job on the obstacle course, the class has good leadership with, its advisors and class officers. It’s going to be a tight race!”
In the end, though, seniors prevailed, thanks to their domination of the Friday afternoon events like the class yell and the class crawl. Congratulations to the Class of 2015 on their Winter Carnival Victory!