Teachers go wild in new Ferocious Friday tradition

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Photo credit: Sabrina Kim

Ferocious Friday: As part of a new tradition created by English teachers Brian Wogensen and Wendy Deming, Head of School Elizabeth English and Associate Head of School Karen Pavliscak sport "ferocious" tiger and leopard print track suits.

Super swag tracksuits with golden stripes gleam in the sunlight. Perky cat ears and leopard print scarfs are spotted in the halls, and intricate tiger patterns catch eyes across the courtyard.

It all started with a simple text from Wendy Deming, an English teacher, who purchased one of these tracksuits and sent a photo to Wogensen.

“I said, ‘That’s ridiculously awesome — I wish I could own one,'” he said. “And then she sent me a link on Amazon that had a male version in my size of the tiger tracksuit. So then I bought that, of course, as you would do.” 

As soon as Wogensen and Deming had both bought their tracksuits, they agreed to wear them to school on Friday. Associate Head of School Karen Pavliscak spotted the two.

“She was so excited that she led Deming and me on a little parade for an entire period,” Wogensen said. “We would go into random classrooms and say, ‘Hey, here we are.'”

After showing the tracksuits to many teachers, Deming and Wogensen encouraged faculty and staff to join them.

“One of the things that I love about Archer is the whimsy and people doing random acts of amusement,” Wogensen said. “I think that happens more here than most places.”

After their initial random act of amusement, other faculty and staff began to wear animal-themed outfits on Fridays, creating a domino effect.

“At the beginning, when only a few people were doing it, it got people talking, making comments about the silly things we were wearing,” English teacher Kathleen Bergen said. “But then more and more teachers started wearing things — staff and administration too.”

The Ferocious Fridays trend has become an official playful tradition that many Archer adults now participate in. Bergen said the animal-themed garb has promoted “enthusiasm and connectivity,” fostering “camaraderie” and “good morale” through this activity. However, she said, it can be a little bit awkward when it comes to the reactions of people outside the walls of Archer.

“The funny thing is that on-campus, wearing these clothes is totally normal because we look insane but it’s normal because we are all doing it,” Bergen said. “But in the morning, if I stop at Starbucks or something, I suddenly become self-conscious about what I’m wearing.”

Although the outfits may seem funky to strangers, teachers said the tradition binds the community together.

“On Fridays, you can see someone who you wouldn’t ordinarily talk to or cross paths with,” English teacher Stephanie Nicolard said. “It becomes a conversation starter.”