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Keeping the Tradition Local and Fun

Freshman Challenge Took Place on Oct. 6 at a New Location


Photo by Maclay School via Instagram


Maclay has many traditions for each grade in high school. For the freshmen, it is the Freshman Challenge trip. This tradition started around the 1990’s when old headmaster Bill Jablon’s daughter attended Maclay high school. The tradition functioned the same until two years ago when math teacher Katie Walker and history teacher Christine Piepmeier took over. The two teachers took over the tradition and made it what it now is.


On Oct. 6, 2023, the class of 2027 arrived at Maclay school first thing in the morning ready for a day of activities and meeting new classmates. Instead of Freshman Challenge being overnight this year, it was a day trip to the FSU Rez and then at three p.m, everyone went back to Maclay and the activities continued.


Freshman Challenge is unique because the upperclassmen get to be counselors to the freshmen. Two to three upperclassmen are paired together and get assigned a group of random freshmen and a color. Then, they create shirts with nicknames and are in charge of the multitude of activities.


“It's really great to get to know the freshmen because I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know them,” senior Lainey Ford said. “It’s also fun being able to be a leader and give them advice and it’s fun seeing them grow closer.”


When the day of Freshman Challenge arrived, the freshmen and upperclassmen counselors got to school at 7:30 a.m. and started off with icebreakers so that everyone could get to know each other better. Then, at the Rez, the color groups competed against each other in dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, flag football and got to climb the rock wall and ride the zipline. Once the competitions were done, the freshman took a big group picture, and all of the counselors bombarded them with shaving cream which is a main tradition. Everyone then washed off in the lake and got to spend time swimming with their friends.


“The purpose of Freshman Challenge is for students to get to know each other better and make new friends,” Piepmeier said. “It’s especially important for freshmen since we get a lot of new students.”


Everyone then headed back to the Maclay campus where the groups participated in five “minute to win it” games and then ended the day with a lip sync competition and paper plate awards.


“My favorite part [of Freshman Challenge] was playing volleyball because it was a great bonding time with my friends,” freshman Henry Richardson said.

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Andy Poll

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