Rainbows and ribbons: Seniors share perspectives on annual Maypole event amidst pandemic

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Photo credit: Rio Hundley

Seniors gather on the front field of Archer to put up the annual Maypole. Senior Rio Hundley described the event as “refreshing.” “We finally got to participate in a tradition and really bond as a class in person,” Hundley said.

From pinks to blues to yellows to violets, a diverse array of colors make up the rainbow of the longstanding Archer Maypole tradition. From celebrating the warm weather to signifying the school year coming to a close, the Maypole event is a “big deal” to all of the Archer community according to senior Shainna Orecklin.

“It is the first thing I knew about Archer before I even attended the school,” Orecklin said. “The Maypole is such a nice tradition and honestly, I didn’t even think we [seniors] would have the opportunity to participate in it due to COVID-19.”

As Los Angeles County’s Coronavirus cases continue to decline, guidelines and restrictions are continually changing. For the Maypole event, seniors were permitted to come to campus, without parents, to hammer their own ribbon down. Orecklin and fellow senior Sydney Banks stressed that they truly didn’t believe they would get the opportunity to put up the Maypole and are “forever grateful” that they were allowed to partake in the tradition.

“I think Archer is working really hard to make things as normal as possible for us,” senior Sydney Banks said. “We had protocols to follow for the event like bring your own hammer or ‘BYOH,’ but we made it our own which is the most important part.”

“It was just a great experience because we haven’t had many senior moments and this felt like a very special moment for the senior class. It added a sense of normalcy to my final year at Archer.””

— senior Eva Dembo

According to Upper School Director Meghan Tally, the regulations leading up to figuring out how they apply to Archer is a very dynamic process.

“The really positive thing in recent weeks was just getting to do it honestly,” Tally said. “The Maypole is such an important tradition here, and it is symbolic — it is a beautiful joyful thing that happens every, it is a beautiful joyful thing that happens every spring at Archer so it felt really important to have it not just for the seniors to put up but for everyone to be able to see it.”

Mia Frank noted that a main benefit of the annual tradition of constructing the Maypole was a time for seniors to really reconnect with one another after being distanced for so long.

Although we’ve been apart for a year and there are some kids I hadn’t talked to since we left, I feel we were definitely able to reconnect and all interact as if no time passed,” Frank said. “It was just nice to be with everyone.”

Tally echoed this sentiment about reconnecting and said that she felt extremely moved by seeing all of the seniors persevere through this challenging year.

“The Maypole is this emblem of hope,” Tally said. “This year was a really hard time and seeing their resilience, their joy and sense of connection to one another, really bodes well for the future, for them and for the world.”