The school year has not officially begun at The Rumson Country Day School without the buzz of its Annual 8th Grade Carnival, a tradition that dates back to the seventies. Hosted by the graduating class on October 8, the Annual Carnival served as an opportunity for students to step up as leaders of the School.
“The carnival means a lot to me,” said 13-year-old Brandon Maroney. “Especially considering that I’ve been here since Nursery.” Brandon and his eighth-grade classmates took on the responsibility to conceptualize and operate the carnival booths, which ranged from a customary balloon pop to creative homemade games like splat the rat. “This is a tradition that I’ve participated in for so long,” he said. “Now I’m running a booth instead of playing at it. We’re helping make the same memories for the next generations. That’s special.”
Brandon chose to create a tin can toss booth, an activity he hoped would be inclusive and appeal to all ages. “A good role model is someone who is respectful and kind,” he said. “A leader who thinks of others.”
RCDS graduates are regularly recognized for their leadership and strength of character, which differentiates them from others when they matriculate to some of the most competitive secondary schools and colleges in the country.
“The Carnival is the first opportunity our 8th grade has to put their class stamp on the school year,” said Head of the Upper School Bill Lamb. “Through their leadership, the entire school community, from our youngest students to parents and grandparents, come together for a shared experience.”
Funds raised from the carnival are allocated to the class gift – a contribution presented by the graduating class to recognize the school and leave behind a little piece of their class legacy. In the past, class gifts have included filtered ezH2O bottle filling stations, dining room tableware and outdoor classroom space.
The carnival also gives the entire RCDS community an opportunity to come together, in person, as a family, a recent challenge given the pandemic. Now, more than ever, families appreciate the return of the beloved traditions that reinforce the family culture of the School. RCDS continues to reinstate a number of signature traditions throughout the school year including lunch in the historic dining room, audiences at class plays and overnight experiential learning trips.
Click here to view photos from this year's 8th Grade Carnival.