May 11, 2014 at 6:00 AM
MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Peck School’s annual Downy-Redhead Field Day (also known as Grandparents’ and Friends’ Day) was held on Friday morning.
The Field Day began with a continental breakfast and student art show. Students then performed in the Spring Sing, their annual concert.
“It’s the most highly anticipated event for our students. It just does so much for our community – especially the camaraderie. It’s probably the most treasured tradition here,” said Joan Smith Myers, director of advancement.
After the concert, students then gathered on the field. The Downy-Redhead Field Day, one of the school’s yearly signature events, has been a tradition at The Peck School since the 1950s, when it was started by former girls' Athletic Director Taz Brower and Headmaster Philip Hesseltine. Every student, upon enrollment, has since been assigned to the Downy team or the Redhead team – woodpeckers, in both cases.
Athletic Director Don Diebold, who emceed the event, announced the start of the relay races, which included egg-spoon carries, burlap-sack races, and more. Each grade competed in their designated section, a rectangle consisting of four racing rows – two rows for each team. Parents and grandparents watched from the sidelines, snacking on the chips, cookies, and water provided by the school.
For the last event of the day, a tug-of-war, students gathered in the field’s center circle. The teams from each grade competed against each other. Once the points earned by each team from the relay races and tug-of-war had been tallied, Diebold announced that the Downies had won, scoring 135 points to the Redheads’ 116. A snack of ice pops then followed.
Director of Communications Jen Cleary said, “It is an enormous amount of school spirit that our students have, so this is such a wonderful tradition. They’re happy to be part of the community, happy to show their pride in their team, and happy, of course, to be out on the field and run around and get dirty."
The Field Day allowed for the students to demonstrate the core values promoted by The Peck School’s Individual Development and Community Responsibility Program, InDeCoRe, which guides students in positive character development. These core values include respect, loyalty, perseverance, empathy, responsibility, and honesty. “We believe that, in life, knowledge is guided by values,” Cleary said, citing the school’s mission statement.