At last Saturday’s annual House Olympics, students showcased their impressive mini-trike riding, yoga-ball bouncing, and defrosting frozen shirts skills, with the Woodhull House placing first, followed by the Stephens House, and the McClellan and Griswold Houses tying for third. Yet, the best aspect of House Olympics is not the overlapping cheers or relay races but each House’s distinct getup. From tye-dyed shirts to face paint, everyone boasted a unique look, though some common trends unified the 11 Houses.
Cowboy hats, a staple for the Carter, Kirby, McClellan, and Stanley Houses, frequently appeared at House Olympics. Similarly, brightly colored tutus and face and body paint were used ubiquitously. Many Crescent Residents also took to using body paint to make hand prints along their legs in House colors. To turn rather boring, boxy-looking, average T-shirts into uniquely shaped tops, almost every house had quite a few members, if not all, cut up their shirts. By cropping bottoms, sleeves, and necklines, students used their creativity to create more comfortable, better-fitting, and stylish House shirts.
This year, Houses wore two types of shirts. The Stephens, Kirby, and McClellan Houses donned dyed ones. While The Kirby and McClellan Houses created subtle, yet fun, tie-dye patterns, Stephens wore their usual maroon shirts with dyed overlays—the bleached and stenciled patterns eye-catching against the deep red. The rest of the Houses wore their embellished printed jersey shirts.
Many Kennedy members, as usual, sported a spray-painted “K” across their arms or chest, and the Stanley House spruced up their green tees by painting and sequencing the front and back with last names and word art. This year, individual creativity was put on show more than ever as students created a spirited ensemble using their own combination of hairstyles, fun bottoms, jewelry, headbands, hair spray, face paint, and other accessories.
The process of creating anything is always more rewarding than the final product, and House Olympic fashion is no different. While showing off your looks on the big day for house points and pictures is a huge part of House Olympics, the exercise of customizing your outfits for the competition is a wonderful activity that brings the House together during the first few days of school.
In Stephens, I always look forward to the evening during orientation week, when we head out to the Crescent Greens to dye our shirts. Talking and comparing designs on warm nights with music in the background is a uniquely Lawrenceville experience as we get to know our housemates from all over the world. The feeling of community you get through creating together is a great lead-up to the unity needed for the games. Even more anticipated is the getting-ready that occurs in each House's common room and porch as the hour approaches. Almost better than my memories of House Olympics are the ones of Stephenites styling our shirts, braiding each other’s hair, and seeing seniors return in their old House shirts. Our excitement builds as we see other Houses on their porches. There are only a few times during the year when an entire House has fun together, and the belonging you feel when laughing, cheering, and getting ready as a House makes every Crescent and Circle House feel like home.