First Days Back by Colette Johnson

Since I’ve been back to school, I’ve witnessed three fire drills and the Field Day event and practices, all in a wheelchair. The fire drills were surprisingly fun. One of my fellow creative writers, Liam, wheeled me out into the quad for two of the three fire drills. During the first fire drill, the two of us were really confused on what to do. We were on the second floor and needed to get down to the football field but didn’t know how. There was an elevator but I was always told that during a real fire or fire drill, you weren’t supposed to use it. Eventually, our Vice Principal Ms. Boyle told us to use it anyways because the fire wasn’t in the main building, it was in the studio theatre. No explanation as to why we had so many fire drills all  one after the other.

The first Field Day practice was a slow day. The head of my department, Heather, gave all of the students two options: we could stay inside and paint my wheelchair yellow (our department’s color) or go out to the field to practice for the events that would take place. I of course, had to stay inside to let some of the other students paint my wheelchair.  While field day practice #1 was  calm, Field Day practice #2 was chaotic. I didn’t even get to actually watch the people on the field practice! My friend and I were too busy figuring out how to get me down to the field safely. That resulted in me freaking out when my friend Nadja tried to push me up a steep, unpaved hill. That was the end of field day practice #2 for me.

The actual Field Day was even more chaotic than Field Day practice #2. I came to school wearing all yellow (which is what I thought was enough) until I saw a boy shirtless with his hair and chest dyed red. Everyone at school went all out with department spirit that day. The main events were absolutely chaotic. There was a combination of screaming, screeching, and celebrating. Unfortunately, CW did not place in any of the activities but we did try our hardest.

Colette Johnson, class of 2021

On Field Day and Traditions, by Thalia Rose

For nearly all of us at SOTA, making artistic progress is just as important as making academic progress and thus, most students perform a balancing act on a regular basis. A friend of mine has several auditions for orchestra, recital practice outside of school and AP music theory homework, all on a weekly basis.  For me, academics alone, there are at least three hours of homework each night. I don’t find this impossible or particularly unpleasant. I have been told that being an artist is a foolish choice with no revenue, a completely impractical occupation. In theory, it does seem quite impractical – from a purely mathematical perspective, the workload seems dreadful – but that is why it is so important to snap out of personal preoccupations and focus on managing time with all the determination one can manage. I feel that a reason for the emphasis on competition at SOTA is that the different departments want to prove to the others that we, as artists, should be taken seriously, that we need to be taken seriously because we are all working so hard.

This year, all art departments participated in an athletic competition. Representatives were chosen from each department while the remaining forces basked in the sun on the bleachers. Some activities are about synchronicity – like the hula-hoop chain, the three-legged race and the human pyramid; some are about trust, i.e. two people holding a donut from a string and one eating it; and some are about the sheer power of physical force like tug of war, which, incidentally, Creative Writing rarely participates in.

Seeing twenty-six people all dressed in the most fluorescent yellow that they could find inevitably offers a sense of solidarity. Heather ritualistically chanting, “Banana dance, banana dance, banana dance!” and the rest of us joining in until Colin succumbed to an interpretive banana dance somehow eased the stress of competition. Traditions offer cohesion. It is comforting to know that, despite stress and routine obstacles, there is a department full of people that I care about and that care about me. I write now, and I will always write, because being in an environment where improvement of art is so strongly encouraged has helped me stay fastened to my goals and the progress of my peers motivates me to improve.

Thalia Rose, Class of 2018

Field Day Prep by Clare Sabry

You may think that us SOTA kids are artistic recluses. We sit in a school all day with next to no windows and have been known to hiss at the sun like vampires, but you would be surprised how much we interact with the natural world.

            Sometimes nature comes to us, this week in the form of rainwater falling from the hallway ceiling. But tomorrow, School of the Arts is coming to nature, the field, more specifically, to take part in a legendary event aptly named Field Day.

            At Field Day, the departments battle it out in a variety of competitions including the human pyramid contest, donut-eating, a three-legged race, and a chain of people trying to fit themselves through a hula hoop. Historically Creative Writing has been a frontrunner in these events, winning the grand prize on two different occasions, and we always take preparations seriously.

            Thus emerges today’s montage of running and climbing, singing and yelling, all necessary steps to get ready for tomorrow’s games. Good luck, SOTA CW! May the best department win.

 Clare Sabry, class of 2017

Field Day: Creative Winning

As many of our readers probably know, Creative Writing became the first ever art department at SOTA to win Field Day more than once. It’s an honor, guys, and here are some words on it:

By Mollie (’13)

There are several misconceptions about the Creative Writing Department: that we spend our two hours of art discipline time only writing, that we rarely leave our room, and that the muscles of “CDubs”, as we’ve named ourselves, have atrophied from disuse. However, on Field Day the misconceptions of our department as dry, pasty, and un-athletic was destroyed as all members of our department consistently exceeded our resting heart rates, scoring point after point (albeit surprising point), finally earning the revered Field Day trophy. My favorite part of Field Day, however, is not the glory of winning. More than the great pleasure I get of smugly informing people of how Creative Writing, the smallest department in number and physical size of students, has now been Field Day champion twice, I enjoy the festival itself. Field day is a day for the eccentric and inherently SOTian student. On Field Day the different departments flamboyantly bathe themselves in their department colors: Creative Writing, yellow, Tech, green, Vocal, pink, and so on. During Field Day a sea of jubilant and raucous teens make their way to the field beside our school to celebrate our individuality. Where else will you find adolescent boys so willingly dressed in pink tutus and girls in grape-colored Teletubby outfits? Societal norms and restrictions seem to fall to the wayside at SOTA and rightly so. SOTA is filled with those who do not conform, artists as we’ve come to name ourselves. If San Francisco is a liberal bubble and artistic Mecca within the United States, SOTA is the same within the San Francisco Unified School District. As a senior, winning my last Field Day, I am ecstatic, but more so, I am pleased to go to a school where we can have this riotous event. During Field Day glitter, gloriously-costumed people, and music fill our field for a day, and we celebrate ourselves as artists.

By Hazel (’13)

I love my department. I can’t say that I tend to exhibit a great amount of enthusiasm or school spirit, but truly, if I were not at SOTA, in Creative Writing, I do not know where I’d be.

Now, as I said: not a lot of school spirit. I doubt that that makes me an exception in a school of brooding teenage artist-types, but I believe it bears mentioning. At this point, I barely dress up for spirit week, I tend to avoid interaction (with pretty much anyone at school) whenever possible both because it terrifies me and does not hold great weight in my mind. But on Field Day, I found myself screaming and cheering while hardly aware of it, and when we tallied up our points (even before the winner was announced) I could not stand still for excitement. When our department was called up and presented with the trophy (or rather when we ran out onto the track and claimed it), I was leaping and celebrating with all the competitive types who made a point of practicing our pyramid until it could be done in less that five seconds. When people began gushing about their joy over winning back in room 202, I found myself nodding and smiling.

In retrospect, I had to wonder why this meant so much (or really anything) to me. I have little interest in athletics (if you want to call Field Day “athletic”) and am distinctly uncomfortable with intense competition. Why did I care if we won or lost?

I came to the conclusion that what I was so excited about was not the victory itself but our ability to win. As I said, my department has become an integral part of my life and I love everyone in it, even those I don’t know as well. It is a department full of interesting, kind, and talented people, both because those are the type of people admitted and because being around such wonderful humans tends to influence your opinions and behaviors in positive ways. I cared about winning Field Day both because I knew it would make others in the department happy and because it is further tangible proof that we are a bunch of innovative, in-synch, and miraculous kids (plus Heather and Isaiah, who I think deserve honorary child status).

So I thank you all for being who you are. Creative Writing is perhaps the most close-knit department out there, and one of the few institutions I am comfortable referring to as my second family. You help me function and you make me my best. We kicked ass out there and I am so proud to stand beside you in that ridiculous color we call ours.

As an afterthought, I sort of hope that no other departments read this blog. I feel like my excessive affection could be construed as elitist sentiments and casual gloating. This is not at all my intention. We’re just pretty cool.


Field Day From an Unbiased Expert

by Molly (’15)

Many people are nervous about Field Day. Strolling down the halls at school, one can hear a variety of conversations from different departments, all bragging about how quickly they can form a human pyramid or eat a doughnut off a string. When I hear these conversations, I can’t help but crack a smile. They are such fools. It is completely obvious that Creative Writing will win field day.

I have many reasons to believe this with such fervor. I will do my best to explain these reasons to you; they are all quite simple.

1. The sun is yellow. Yellow is the color of Creative Writing. The sun is also the reason we are all alive. Therefore, if we do not win, there will be no life.

2. Due to yellow’s eye-catching presence, it is very unlikely any Creative Writers will get hit by a car during the night. Therefore, no Creative Writer will be missing on Field Day, giving us a better chance of success.

3. Very intelligent individuals agree with my point, making it even more credible. Even Barack Obama mentioned it:

“It is very likely [that Creative Writing] … will … win [Field Day] … they are [so incredibly talented] … that every other [department] … [pales] … in comparison.”

I hope my explanations will convince those of us that are still doubtful of Creative Writing’s obvious victory.

Field Day!

Yesterday was the famed Field Day, a day where the students and teachers of SOTA gather at the field for a rowdy and festive school-wide competition. Everyone was decked out in their departments’ colors and screaming from the bleachers as their representatives fought on the field, gunning for the treasured trophy.

We C-dubs (yellow and proud), who took that first place trophy last year, didn’t place this time around, but we managed to still have a blast. A highlight was the dance competition: our own Aly and Jules surprised us all when they stripped down and whipped out their yellow paint, dousing themselves and the track around them- they had to clean up afterwards, but it was definitely worth it.