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‘They’re rooting for each other’: Sixth graders begin Maypole rehearsals, reflect on growth

Photo credit: Emily Paschall
Ribbons of the practice Maypole float in the breeze on the sport court during sixth grade’s Maypole rehearsal May 2. Sixth grade Dean of Community, Culture and Belonging Natalie Kang described the Maypole as a “rite of passage” from sixth to seventh grade. Sixth grade will continue to rehearse up to their performance May 31. 

Every May since Archer’s founding in 1995, sixth grade students have danced, skipped and weaved ribbons together all in preparation for their Maypole performance on Moving Up Day.

After spring break, sixth grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging Natalie Kang introduced the Maypole tradition to the Class of 2030. She said she explained its history and significance to help students better understand what the tradition is and why they will be partaking in it. Kang also shared how the Maypole was originally for the Eastern Star home for women, and it now serves as a “rite of passage” from sixth to seventh grade. The senior class set up this year’s Maypole April 28, and the performance will take place May 31 on the front lawn.

Sixth graders began their Maypole rehearsals two weeks ago on the sport court. Kang said she and the sixth grade mentors taught the skipping part, but students have not used the practice Maypole yet.

Kaia Vosicher (’30) said she expected the first rehearsal to be dull, but she ended up having a lot of fun. Similarly, Arianna Aram (’30) said the first rehearsal was exciting and well-organized.

When thinking about potential setbacks during the rehearsal process, Aram said absences or confusion at practices could come up. Vosicher said the sixth grade may encounter challenges during the performance, too.

“Some obstacles during the Maypole [might be] the weaving part, or there might be some fighting over which colors or ribbons people get to hold on to,” Vosicher said.

Kang said the Maypole represents many emotions and aspects of Archer’s community, and it is meaningful to students across all grades for different reasons.

“For upper schoolers, it represents memories of being a sixth grader — a reminder of what that feels like. For sixth graders, it’s exciting. It represents their transition … It’s like their graduation … It represents, I think for all of us, the start of summer and end of another school year,” Kang said. “And because it’s such a long standing tradition, even before Archer was Archer, I think it ties into the history, which ties into our mission.”

Kang said she did not observe any resistance or nervousness from students during the first rehearsal, but rather curiosity and open-mindedness. Vosicher shared some common qualities she has noticed across the Class of 2030.

“Loyalty is definitely a part of my grade. People in my grade love to return favors. They have a lot of kindness in them, and they like to share it with everyone,” Vosicher said. “Another trait some people in my grade have is being clever or generous. They are really smart.”

Joey Hansen (’30) said she has grown over the course of her first year at Archer. For example, she has tried new activities even if she initially felt hesitant.

“I think I’ve became more independent and confident in myself,” Hansen said. “Like for the Night of Dance, I never expected myself to do it because I don’t like crowds, but I did anyway.”

Kang said she has seen the sixth graders change and grow in numerous ways since the start of the year. She said they have gained confidence and a stronger sense of belonging within the Archer community, while still holding onto connections and positivity from the start of the year.

“So much of what I and the other sixth grade teachers love about them has stayed the same … They’re really supportive of one another, and they’re rooting for each other. It’s a very positive vibe, and I can feel that in the Maypole practice,” Kang said. “I think back to the start of the school year when I felt a little bit more like a mama bird — I had lots and lots of little baby birds around me constantly asking questions, needing help, lost, confused, [with] big eyes [and] a little bit of fear or nervousness. So much of that is gone now. They’ve grown up. They’re ready for seventh grade. They found their footing and feel like they belong.”

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About the Contributor
Emily Paschall
Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter
Emily Paschall joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022. She is now a senior reporter. She participates in dance at Archer. She is also a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team Advisory Board and Dance Leadership Team. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to K-pop or Taylor Swift, and playing with her dog.

Comments (2)

As part of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Editorial Board welcomes reader comments and debate and encourages community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, the editorial board does allow anonymous comments on articles as long as the perspective cannot be obtained elsewhere, and they are respectful and relevant. We do require a valid, verified email address, which will not be displayed, but will be used to confirm your comments. Because we are a 6-12 school, the Editorial Board reserves the right to omit profanity and content that we deem inappropriate for our audience. We do not publish comments that serve primarily as an advertisement or to promote a specific product. Comments are moderated and may be edited in accordance with the Oracle’s profanity policy, but the Editorial Board will not change the intent or message of comments. They will appear once approved.
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    Gabby KaplanMay 17, 2024 at 11:48 am

    The FI is SOOO good!! Great article Emily!

  • M

    Melinda WangMay 8, 2024 at 1:16 pm

    Love the FI, Emily!!!