December 2016

Clan Life

The sixth graders and other new MacLaren students gathered in the Student Center on a warm and breezy September morning, chatting excitedly with their neighbors. It was the first Clan Gathering in MacLaren history, and these were the first MacLaren students to ask themselves the important questions: Which clan will I call home for the next seven years? What is under that black cloth? Who is our surprise guest? And most importantly: Why are Mr. Kelly and Mr. Alvarado lying on the floor together, hugging yardsticks and a microphone? 

Ms. Doffing took the stage in a sweeping purple cloak and introduced the (worrisomely slender) mystery guest. Firinn Stravaig (Scots for “truth wanderer”) turned out to be a three-foot-tall tartan- and kilt-clad skeleton whose rich brogue bore traces of Mr. Kelly’s pleasant baritone voice. Mr. Stravaig welcomed the new students to MacLaren with wild gesticulations, flinging his bony arms—propped up by the aforementioned yardsticks—about. Clan by clan he announced the new students, and their clan inducted them into the fold: Josh, a senior, played eerie music on his violin to welcome newly-minted Banshees, the Oakenshields recited a long and dizzyingly elaborate cheer created by eighth-grader Carissa, and Lucia and Grace, a pair of juniors, gilded the wrists of new clanmates with gold strings in honor of their namesake, the Fates. 

The fondest hope of all the clans is to see their name emblazoned on the Philosophers’ Cup, a trophy that takes its name from a Monty Python sketch. In the months-long pursuit of this elusive cup, the student body is beginning to discover how great an impact a small handful of motivated students can have—not only on the unity of their clan, but on the community at large. A few highlights:

  • As a school, we ran over 19 marathons during Fall Field Day—the Paladins alone completed 80 laps, an entire marathon by themselves.
  • Clans have raised money for the children of Lesotho during the Penny Wars and Fun Run. The Aztecs, who raised $240.89, were far and away the champion fundraisers.
  • A few months later, clans donated over 700 games and toys for sick children in local hospitals. The aptly-named Bourgeoisie demonstrated great generosity in addition to their wealth, donating a record 120 items.
  • Cheering on their peers became a regular occurrence as students and staff packed the soccer field, basketball court, and new auditorium. 
  • Finally, to celebrate Thomas MacLaren School’s birthday in November, students and their teachers submitted more than 50 delicious entrees and desserts to the Clan Cook-off and Bake-off. A handful of judges were tasked with determining the finest dishes by taste and presentation; they did their duty, it must be said, with both discernment and delectation.

As the months have gone by, clans have grown closer by spending time together outside of school. The Philosophers had a game and dress-up night; the Bourgeoisie went skating; the girls from the Berserkers had a movie night; and the Surrealists met for snacks after Fall Field Day.

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