Archer hosts first virtual Moving Up Day


Photo credit: Saskia Sommer

Archer sent the class of 2026 materials to make mini Maypoles in place of the famous Archer Maypole positioned in the front lawn on campus. "In some ways, each individual strand of the Maypole, whether it be the real or miniature one, is like an aspect of Archer, and when woven together, emulates connection and substantial bonds," sixth grader Saskia Sommer said.

By London Sinclair and Thea Leimone

As the 2019-2020 school year came to a close, students in every grade prepared to progress to the next grade level in their middle or high school career. However, instead of celebrating from the courtyard, Archer students logged on to Zoom for the annual Moving Up Day on June 5. Despite its virtual format, Moving Up Day included a 15 minute all-school slideshow and dance party.  

Traditionally, the sixth graders, having finished their first year at Archer, circle around the Maypole at their designated ribbons and begin the Maypole dance to the beat of the drum. This year, Archer improvised by creating a video montage of past Maypole dances and showed how the class of 2026 adapted to not being on campus to perform the dance.

“I really appreciated how our dean and teachers made an effort to allow us to partake in the Maypole celebration by sending us mini Maypoles to assemble and weave,” sixth grader Saskia Sommer said. “While it was not the same as weaving the Maypole on campus, I still gained so many memories from the experience, and it just goes to show how connected the Archer community is, directly contributing to this year’s theme of connection.”

Archer graduation takes place before Moving Up Day so all previous seniors are officially alumni and do not attend Moving Up Day, meaning junior year is the last Moving Up Day for students. The Class of 2021, rising seniors, expressed bittersweet feelings about their last Moving Up Day and its online adaptation. 

“It’s incredibly sad and exciting at the same time. It means my time at Archer is almost over which is crazy to me because I still feel like a sixth grader,” junior Gracey Wyles said.

Upper School Director Gretchen Warner listed reasons why she feels Moving Up Day is so special.

“The rising seniors coming into their own as seniors and leaders in the school,” Warner said. “The rising seniors forming the tunnel that the whole school runs through. The sixth graders coming together one last time before their class fully forms in seventh grade.”

Warner has spent 15 years working at Archer in the roles of science teacher, dean of students and upper school director and played an integral role in the lives of many Archer girls. The Madeira School in Maclean, Virginia will be welcoming Warner as their tenth Head of School beginning July 1. 

“I am in denial that this is my last Moving Up Day. Archer has been such a big part of my life and while I am excited for the adventure ahead, I am reticent to admit this is my last student event at Archer,” Warner said. “I am bummed that we aren’t able to gather in person, but if our incredible senior celebrations are a clue to what this day will look like — I am confident we will honor and celebrate in all the best ways.”