The Spokesman

Blue and White Day: Revamping a Timeless PDS Tradition

Courtesy+of+Lucy+Bailey
Courtesy of Lucy Bailey

Courtesy of Lucy Bailey

Courtesy of Lucy Bailey

Valerie Cerna, Staff Writer

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Every May, students from every grade look forward to the annual Blue & White Day, a fun field day event for PDS members to come together and compete in various activities. Students and faculty alike are divided into two teams: Blue and White. This PDS tradition was first started by Princeton Day School PE teacher and coach, Kim Bedesem, whose first name is printed on the Blue and White Day t-shirts each year.

This year, the day started off with the Big Race, in which select students in every grade run a race for their respective team. Shortly afterwards, the Upper School was split by grade to participate in intense  games of Tug of War. For the first time in fifteen years, the Upper School was able to participate in Blue and White Day for nearly the entire school day. Junior Rakesh Potluri, who was recently elected as Student Council president, explained that it took about two years for the plans to be finalized and approved. It was a difficult undertaking in the past as PDS shortened the previously all-day event to a small barbeque due to lack of interest by the Upper School. “Kids were skipping,” Potluri admitted. “Seniors and juniors stayed at home, so in the end, it really just wasn’t successful.” Potluri also added that people had lost interest in the barbeque and, as a result, Upper Schoolers began participating only in the Big Race and the Tug of War. After these activities, students historically returned back to class and continued with the rest of the school day. According to Potluri, around six years ago, Upper Schoolers wanted to make Blue and White Day a full-day event again. Many students thought it was a great idea to spend the day outside, just like old times, but no one took action in order to do so. When Potluri was a freshman, he talked to Head of Upper School Jason Robinson about the idea of a full day for everyone. Despite having received approval from Mr. Robinson, no plans were made during Potluri’s freshman year. However, when his sophomore year rolled around, Potluri was extremely determined to make Blue & White day an all-day event for Upper schoolers once again.

With the help of former Student Council president, Oliver McIntosh, Potluri worked hard to turn his idea into reality. Both students went to Mr. Robinson, and again, he approved. With the consent of the Head of the Upper School in mind, McIntosh and Potluri discussed possible activities at the event, along with other important plans, such as food and general organization. Together, they asked Student Council for feedback and were delighted to receive approval from all members of Council.  They then took their ideas and wrote a proposal in January 2017, which was passed in Student Council and by various faculty members, including Dr. Monroe and Ms. Sisson. However, Potluri and McIntosh soon realized that they did not have enough time to do everything by May due to the amount of time spent planning in February. “With the amount of work and time it took to plan it this year, there was no way we could’ve done everything in time,” Potluri confessed. With the time restraints in mind, Potluri and McIntosh attempted to trim down the plan, hoping that it would take less time to achieve their goal.  So, they decided to go in a different direction, as stated by Potluri, “What we ended up planning for students and faculty instead of a full Blue and White Day was an ice cream day and yearbook party.” At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, the Upper School devoted around an hour for students to go to the Campus Center, grab an ice cream of their choice, and flip through the pages of their yearbooks. With everyone entertained by their ice cream and copies of the yearbook, the positive outcomes motivated Potluri to create a full Blue and White day for all Upper school students and faculty the following year.

Potluri began planning the extended Blue and White Day for the 2017-2018 school year in September of 2017. He started early because he knew that planning for the event would be no easy task. Once the plan was outlined and put into another proposal, Potluri sent the memo to department heads and other faculty members. From the beginning of the process, Potluri and the rest of Student Council had to submit plans before both spring and winter break,  in order to ensure everything would be easier once they returned to school. Every single free period, C&C, community block, and before and after school, Potluri met with everyone necessary, including Coach Thomas and the Building and Grounds staff.

Potluri admitted that every last detail of the plan really came together the week of Blue & White day. His biggest concerns were getting the schedule for the day finalized and organized and also organizing the Splash competition. Potluri and those who helped him arrived to PDS early the morning of Blue and White Day to organize everything. Potluri was delighted to see everything falling into place and running smoothly throughout the day. This was the moment in which he realized that all of his hard work had paid off.

Thanks to Potluri and Student Council, Blue and White Day was a huge success this year. Next year, Potluri hopes to extend the field day to a full day event for all Upper Schoolers, but for now, Poturi and the rest of the student body have only positive things to say about this year’s Blue and White Day.

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Blue and White Day: Revamping a Timeless PDS Tradition