Grade Overnight Trips Rescheduled, Affecting Senior Run-In; Lock-In Replaces Freshman Trip

Seniors celebrate after running into the high school. Photo by Shaila Joshi ’25.

The senior run-in looked different this year as sophomores and juniors departed for their overnight trips directly afterward. In previous years, the trips had taken place before the first day of school. The freshmen also had their first lock-in since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic instead of an overnight trip.

High school students started school on Sept. 5, with the first assembly taking place at 8:45 a.m. When the assembly ended, sophomores and juniors left for their overnight trips. Freshmen had orientation, and seniors had college counseling workshops and class events. The sophomores and juniors returned on Sept. 6, and classes began on Thursday, Sept. 7.

“It’s weird to not have classes right after the run-in and have a break instead,” senior Shaan Desai said. “I kind of enjoyed the break after the run-in, but it definitely felt weird.” Desai thought that the sophomores and juniors leaving directly afterward “didn’t really affect the hype of the run-in, but it might’ve been more fun if they stayed.”

The senior run-in is a tradition during the first day of school for which seniors run into the Forum wearing clothes or carrying props that fit a certain theme.

GDS alumna Lauren Petrilla ’23, who participated in the run-in last year, thought the energy from the rest of the high school made the run-in more lively. “It wasn’t just the seniors; there was a lot of energy from everyone, including underclassmen,” she said. “So I would have been disappointed if they just left right after. That’s kind of not well thought through by the administration,” Petrilla added.

Assistant Principal for Student Life Quinn Killy said the sophomore and junior overnight trips were moved later “to make them more inclusive of people who weren’t back in town” and to condense the timing of the grade trips.

History teacher Topher Dunne called the rescheduled grade trips “a reconception, in my mind, of what the start of school is.” He said the change “puts it all in one place” by consolidating the school schedule. Previously, the overnight trips “were a whole week before the start of school, which made for a strange in-between.”

Dunne said he was confused about what would constitute the first day of school. “Is the first day of school when classes start, or is it the senior run-in?” he asked.

Dunne thought that having classes start later would have little effect on him and other teachers. He did, however, think the new schedule would affect First Friday, a day when games are held to mark the completion of the first week of school. Dunne pointed out that part of the appeal of First Friday is that it has been held at the end of a long week of classes, and “that’s not quite the same now.”

In addition to the grade trips being moved a week later, the freshmen had a lock-in instead of an overnight trip. The lock-in is when freshmen sleep over in the high school from 8:00 p.m. on Friday to 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Freshman Vivian LoCascio preferred the idea of a lock-in to a class overnight trip. “We’ve never done anything like that — staying overnight at the school,” LoCascio said.

LoCascio was also happy about the independence freshmen get during the lock-in. “It’s interesting that there aren’t going to be as many restrictions as there usually are on the Middle School and Lower School trips. They’re allowing us to either go to sleep or stay up late, and that’s new for school trips.”

Sophomore Leo Johnson-Goldfrank said he preferred the timing of the sophomore overnight this year to the timing of the earlier overnight last year. “I don’t like having a school activity inserted into the end of the summer,” Johnson-Goldfrank said.

Johnson-Goldfrank said he was “uncertain about the value of the overnight trips in general…the packing, the unpacking, all the prep you have to do — and it’s only for two nights.”

Junior Zachary Henderson said their past GDS overnight trips have been “hit or miss.” They added that they preferred the earlier dates for the trips because they wanted the first days of school to be used to meet teachers and prepare for classes. “I don’t want to go on an overnight on my first day back,” they said.

While the sophomores and juniors went on their overnight trips, freshmen continued their orientation and seniors participated in college counseling workshops and class events. These events included “life skills workshops,” according to Dunne, who led a workshop on financial literacy.