The day began with a fun-filled pep rally in the Auditorium. Lower School students designed posters, had faces painted, and accessorized outfits to show school spirit for the soccer, tennis, and volleyball teams who were to compete on various fields and courts throughout the day.
At the conclusion of the pep rally, students and their families joined other guests on a parade to Central Park’s North Meadow for the Varsity Soccer game. The unique location of the soccer game was a nod to Nightingale history. Though today’s league games mostly take place on Randall’s Island, decades ago the fields of Central Park were home to Nightingale teams.
“Changing the location to Central Park was one of the reasons the day felt so special,” said Katharine Tilson ’20, one of two senior members of the Varsity Soccer team. In addition to Central Park serving as a historic backdrop, Tilson noted how special it was “to play close to school, and more fans attended because they could join the parade. It felt amazing to win the game for all the fans who came to support us and kick off the centennial with a win.”
While Varsity Soccer was cruising to a 5-0 victory, the JV Volleyball team was battling in the Sue Tofel ’48 Gymnasium. At the conclusion of their game, the Varsity Volleyball team took to the court, but not before a group of nearly 60 singers in the Upper School Chorus provided a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
“I think that everyone on the court could feel the energy from the crowd, and it felt great being supported not only by our friends and family, but by teachers and alumna as well,” remarked Thea Berman ’20, a senior member of the Varsity Volleyball team. By mid afternoon, Nightingale teams had finished the day with an impressive 4-0 record, with Varsity Tennis, JV Soccer, Varsity Volleyball, and Varsity Soccer all securing homecoming wins.
For the duration of the day, 92nd Street was closed to traffic so that Nightingale could host a street party. A live DJ joined a variety of food trucks as alumnae, families, and friends celebrated the beautiful day while sampling the diverse food options, joining in lively conversation, and even dancing in the street. Arts and crafts—along with lemon sticks—remained available to families in the auditorium, along with a unique spread of limited-edition centennial items for sale at the Parents Association’s General Store tables.
A faculty vs. alumnae volleyball match served as the final event in the schoolhouse. The gymnasium was packed with alumnae, students, and families cheering on both sides in what was a friendly but competitive match. Head of School Paul A. Burke was joined by roughly a dozen faculty members, including Christine Schutt, the most seasoned member of the faculty to participate.
"It was great to see our current students and families cheering on the alum and the faculty," said Mandy Cecil, Nightingale's Director of Athletics. "Having representation from current families, alumnae, and faculty all in the gym at once made it a really special moment."
In the end, the faculty edged the alumnae in two straight games, 25-22 and 25-18.
Nightingale is incredibly thankful to all who helped make Centennial Homecoming possible, especially PA President Eizelle Taino P'23 P'26, PA Homecoming co-chairs Matthew Baldwin P'31 and Armen Basmadjian P'27 P'30, and countless other parent and staff volunteers. Nightingale is truly grateful!
For many, the atmosphere of revelry and the fun moments shared amongst friends are what made the day one that is not soon to be forgotten.
“My favorite part, other than the game, was dancing in the street. Lower, middle, and upper schoolers were all having fun dancing around in front of the school together,” said Katharine Tilson '20, reflecting upon the day.
“It was a moment that made me think about how lucky I am to belong to a community like Nightingale. I could not have asked for a better ‘last’ homecoming, and it’s one I’ll remember for a very long time.”