Sophomores Kate Cunningham and Renee Lewis pose during the massive water fight in the Pace parking lot last year

We may say that a million things at Pace torture us, exams and teachers being two. But the usual sources of torture are no match for the pain eighth graders feel watching the festivities of Great American Picnic from the Middle School English classrooms. But all in good time, dear eighth graders! Great American Picnic is worth the wait. Mr. Gannon may claim that the Great American Picnic is “neither great, nor American, nor a picnic,” but I disagree. While graduation is bittersweet, the Great American Picnic is just full-out fun.

The morning of GAP, the seniors’ last day of school, drags on as the air fills with anticipation. Around noon, the smell of burning hamburgers, cooked by the senior class, wafts into the academic building and students flood into the gardens to enjoy the camaraderie, sun, and cuisine. But before long, the entire Upper School is battling it out in the parking lot. Water balloon warfare is taken very seriously at the Academy. Classes prepare the night before, employing all the members of the class to fill their assigned balloons, usually with water, although the occasional mustard bomb has made its way into the parking lot. While water balloons and water guns are useful, the best weapon is the bed of a pickup truck. This tactic of filling the truck bed with water and tossing an underclassman in has been outlawed (but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, freshmen).
The friendly competition ends quickly, as provisions run out within a half hour. Everyone then rushes to dry off in time for the traditional senior-faculty softball game. The crowd cheers for their seniors and teachers with each play. After watching the seniors conquer the faculty’s team, everyone moves into the FAC. 

We began the year with the seniors rushing onto the stage cheering and chanting “2011! 2011!” We will end the year with those same students going up to the stage, one by one, to give their senior testimonials where they reflect on their time at Pace and share their favorite (or least favorite) memories. As Mark Schneider ’10 wrote, “Although the entire Upper School meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for assembly, rarely does everyone participate in the activities and rarely does everyone support one another,” until the Great American Picnic, that is.” Great American Picnic, Mr. Gannon, is actually quite great.

By Grace Butler, Staff Writer ’12

Photo Credit: Lindsey Zwecker

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