Kate McLaughlin, Staff Writer
October 20, 2023
On September 22 and October 6, Nobles hosted Fall Fest and Friday Night Lights (FNL). Students enjoyed games and dancing during Fall Fest, celebrating the new school year at the MAC; at FNL, crowds gathered to watch volleyball, girls soccer, and football while supporting charities.
Preparation for both nights began months prior, with the Student Life Council (SLC) spearheading the planning process. Overseen by Director of Athletics Alex Gallagher (N’ 90) and Class III Dean Jane Strudwick, SLC is responsible for promoting the events through assembly announcements and videos. Many students have commitments outside of school or need encouragement to stay on campus after a week of classes, so SLC’s task is more burdensome than one might think. Regarding SLC’s role, Gallagher said, “For any community-wide social event like this, the SLC is right at the heart of it because their job is to get people to show up and inspire them to be here, be present, and be a part of it.” By increasing attendance, promotional efforts from the SLC make fall events more enjoyable.
Gallagher and Strudwick also play an essential role in organizing Fall Fest and FNL by working directly with the SLC. After members of the SLC collect feedback from their peers to enhance the student experience, Gallagher and Strudwick are responsible for materializing these ideas. “They have a really good vision for what they want to pull off, and then my job is to do whatever I can to support them and go find the opportunities that allow us to fulfill the things that they want to do,” Gallagher said. By implementing ideas from the SLC to coordinate the events, Gallagher and Strudwick help to improve the experiences of Fall Fest and FNL, particularly for the students. FLIK, Buildings and Grounds, and the Athletic department are also significant leaders in managing the events’ logistics.
(Photo Credit: Avery Winder)
Gallagher and Strudwick acquired new music for this year’s Fall Fest. DJ WhySham, a former student of Class IV Dean Nora Dowley-Liebowitz at the Codman Academy Charter School, performed for the first time following student feedback concerning the previously tenured DJ. Referencing her past work, Gallagher said, “She was fantastic […] She [was] really excited to work the event, and we’ll take feedback from the SLC and other kids. Hopefully, they’re happy with the DJ.” Students’ reactions to DJ WhySham’s performance have been mixed to date.
In addition to collecting feedback from the Nobles community, scheduling is critical for events like Fall Fest and FNL. Determining a date for Fall Fest is straightforward, since the night exclusively involves Nobles students. However, planning the FNL games entails more complicated arrangements, as the Athletic department must consider the schedules of other schools’ sports programs. For this reason, the football team often plays all-boys schools, such as St. Sebastian’s or Roxbury Latin, the latter of which they played this year at FNL. There were issues planning the girls’ soccer game this FNL, as the Girls Varsity Soccer team originally had a bye week. Still, the game was played as a result of efforts from the Athletic department. Gallagher said, “Girls Soccer was not scheduled to play on this weekend. That forced us to go out and find an opponent for them [Austin Prep] to ensure that they got their Friday Night Lights game this year.”
Another crucial aspect of organizing FNL is installing the lights. Being played indoors, volleyball doesn’t require this step. Soccer and football, however, need temporary light fixtures on Castle Field and Burr Field, respectively. Nobles Athletics works with an outside company to provide lights for FNL and ensures they are functional the night before. The Buildings and Grounds department also plays an essential role in installing the lights and the overall maintenance of the events.
Furthermore, Nobles Connect, the parent and alumni organization at Nobles, is heavily involved with the fall events. The network provides volunteers to help plan and assist the night of the event, especially FNL. Volunteers collect donations for multiple charities, including Runway for Recovery, promoting breast cancer awareness; Maddie’s Promise, raising awareness for rare childhood cancer; and The Achieve Program. Proceeds collected by Nobles Connect volunteers and food truck sales contribute to these causes. “[Nobles Connect has] been a huge help to us as we’ve tried to pull off the events,” Gallagher said. The impact of volunteers extends beyond staffing Fall Fest and FNL, as their involvement helps the greater community.
To ensure the success of Fall Fest and FNL, Nobles covers all event expenses. Chief Financial and Operating Officer Steve Ginsberg provides a substantial budget for the SLC and other event planners. He supports reasonable requests, including the food that FLIK supplies. Regarding the budget, Gallagher said, “We certainly have the resources to be able to pull off what the kids would like to have and what the kids would like to do […] The school has been very supportive.” Events like these are important to attend, especially considering the organizational efforts that make them possible. They bring people together through school spirit and community. “Seeing the community come together, especially to help good causes, is really special and time that is always well worth spending,” Gallagher said of past fall events. Fall Fest and FNL are only possible because of logistical work from the SLC, the Athletic department, Buildings and Grounds, Nobles Connect, FLIK, and others. Gallagher said of their efforts, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s work that’s totally worth it. 100 percent.”