PatChat is your inside view of GA from students' perspective

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Welcome to PatChat

Students benefit every day from the vibrancy and diversity of the GA community. Whether a school-wide event, an evening performance in the Arts Center, or an off campus class trip, students across all divisions are actively engaged in a plethora of activities and pursuits. Each student’s experience is different while also rewarding; every story is worth sharing.

PatChat is meant to provide some insight into GA students’ lives, in their own words. PatChat posts will be student generated and focus on what’s most intriguing about their time at GA. Using a rotating staff of Middle and Upper School writers, readers will get an in depth view into what’s going on at GA. With over 250 years of history, traditions run deep at GA.  Our first post for 2013-2014 serves to highlight one of those longstanding traditions: the annual GA-PC Day. It’s an exciting time for everyone on campus and you’ll learn how several of our writers enjoyed their day.

Throughout the year we invite you to read and see what makes a GA experience unique as our writers live out the GA’s Mission. Welcome to PatChat.

Monday, November 25, 2013


For 127 consecutive years, the Germantown Academy and Penn Charter football teams have competed annually in the nation's oldest, continuous prep school football rivalry. Once known only for the football contest, GA-PC Day has grown to include match-ups between both schools' field hockey, cross country, soccer, tennis, and water polo teams. A special Competition Cup, established in 1996, is awarded to the school which wins the most events on GA-PC Day.
2013 GA-PC Day    -      Football: GA 42, PC 35   -   Competition Cup: GA-PC tie

GA has many traditions, but the GA-PC rivalry has always been the biggest. The rivalry means something different to everyone at GA no matter if you’re a teacher or a student.  Whether you’ve been at GA for 10 years or you’re a new student, it is one of the most fun events to be a part of.
I remember in my first year I had never even heard of the school called PC let alone the rivalry. It didn’t make difference because I could feel the energy that it brought and knew I wanted to be a part of it. I knew no one outside of my grade, but still found myself giving high fives to upper schoolers and cheering just as loud. That’s the greatest thing about GA-PC day—the fact that it ties all branches of the school together in a way that no other thing does. This is so important because of the wide age group that GA covers from the littlest pre-kindergarteners to the big cool twelfth graders and the faculty. It is quite a feat to bring these groups together in such a way. It doesn’t really even matter who wins or loses (though it is fun to beat those Quakers) because it’s the spirit and competitiveness of the day that makes it so memorable.
That memory lives on it each person. I’ve talked to people who have graduated twenty years ago, but they are still bitter about a loss to PC or reminisce about that final goal that won them the game and the day. GA/PC day instills a kind of spirit that is amazing to see and even better to be a part of. I am glad to get to experience it every year with the great people at GA.   
-Owen M. '19
As the cheerleading captain, the all-school Pep Rally the Friday before GA-PC Day is definitely the highlight of the season for me. The cheerleaders start working on a routine in August and spend the season – when not preparing for the weekly football games – practicing our dances, stunt routines, and fan-favorite cheers.
A relatively new tradition of GA-PC week allows the cheerleading squad to visit some of our best fans in the Lower School. The cheerleaders choose our favorite cheer to teach to the entire Lower School – this year, it was “Hey, all you GA Fans,” which we love because we get to clap with the crowd to cheer on the Patriots. We visited the Pre-K through 5th grades and had so much fun showing the kids and their teachers how they could get involved in the Pep Rally.
I loved watching the kids’ faces light up when I told them that this was their special cheer, as we were teaching it to only them and not the Middle or Upper Schools. Whether you’re a Lower Schooler, GA parent, alumnus, athlete, or just a GA fan, GA-PC Day is definitely a tradition that every member of our community has a vital role in.
-Alli L. '14
I am one of the kids who always go all out on Spirit Week. For me, it’s an excuse to dress up in the most ridiculous, most embarrassing, and funniest outfits I can think of, and not get made fun of for it. I remember last year my favorite theme was superhero day. I chose to be my own variation of Aqua Man where I wore teal sweatpants that were about 4 sizes too big for me, an extra small swim cap, my mom’s swimming goggles, and a blue t-shirt. It was hysterical. Now, although it was not quite what someone would catch the real Aqua Man wearing, it shows the true nature of Spirit Week.
This year’s themes were of Nerd Day, followed by Goth Day, followed by Tacky Tourist Day, followed by Masquerade Day, and concluded with the Grade Color Day. Personally, my favorite of the all the days was Tacky Tourist Day, just because I had the most fun wearing an ugly Hawaiian shirt, a small bathing suit, a visor, and a fanny pack (which I discovered are quite practical and have worn it every day since). Although I did not like the theme as much as the others, I thought it was cool that on Goth Day, the entire student body participated and made it really interesting to walk down the halls and watch a sea of eyeliner and black lipstick (on guys) flood past you.
-Gideon S. '15
Here at Germantown Academy we have a tradition of coming together before GA-PC Day and getting hyped up about the games ahead. This hour-ish long rally is held in the big gym and hosts many different acts put on by upper school students, usually seniors. The lower schoolers have their area, the upper schoolers have the bleachers, and the middle schoolers squeeze in the sides. To get everybody hyped, seniors come around and throw candy for you to catch. Of course, when candy is thrown people try to catch it. This can go one of two ways. One, you get hit in the face with flying candy. Or two, you avoid getting tackled by candy-hungry students. Personally, I like getting hit in the face so I don’t go for the candy and usually end up getting hit. After the candy throwing, the Pep Rally begins.
We always begin with the alma mater and the star spangled banner then move on to “beating up” of teachers who dress in the unfortunate blue and yellow of Penn Charter. Another tradition at GA is hallway decoration. Each high school grade decorates a hallway with a theme and the teachers judge them in a competition for second (seniors always get first.) The winner is announced and there is always much cheering and booing especially this year because the sophomores came before the juniors. Then the seniors run through their class banner and huddle in the center for some celebratory jumping and yelling.

Then the real act begins with the cheerleaders doing their routine. I have been going to GA since third grade; this means I know the cheers. One example is the Patriot Beat which involves a very elaborate hand clap and leg slapping beat that I can never seem to get right and always mix up. Next, we hear from the sports captains. They inform us of last year’s outcome and assure us that they will crush them this year for sure. After this is the main event, Senior Step. I always enjoy this act the most because I’m incapable of dance. This, again, is a series of stomps, claps, and “swag moves.” A group of senior girls and usually one boy (but I have recently been informed there can be more than just one boy) get together and create a choreographed ten minute dance to pop songs. This year I found the dance very entertaining because my sister, a senior, was dancing and I never ever see her dance. After this, the cheerleaders preform again and then they escort the lower school kids out to avoid the rush of the upper and middle schoolers. After the lower schoolers leave, the net on the ceiling holding balloons is torn and it quickly becomes a competition of who can pop more balloons. 

GA-PC Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it does not matter who you are friends with or what sport you play. Everyone in that gym is there to support their school and carry on tradition. And Germantown Academy sure has a lot of tradition. We have been around for 257 years and every time I go to the pep rally or GA-PC Day I feel like I am upholding some sort of tradition. You can’t find that feeling in many other places. I can’t wait until I am a senior and running the school or maybe just the pep rally. Who knows?

-Margaret H. '19