A Joyful Comeback Season for AIS/EA Day 2021

Agnes Irwin hosted Episcopal Academy for AIS/EA Day after a year’s hiatus.

School spirit buzzed and ran throughout campus this week as the Agnes Irwin community counted down to the annual rivalry tradition of AIS/EA day, where the two schools met at AIS to “battle for the banner.” The 2021 events marked the 16th year of inter-school competition in tennis, cross country, soccer, and field hockey, and a joyful return to a cherished athletic tradition after a year’s hiatus.

The week kicked off with Spirit Fair, where students and their families gathered in the Hamilton Family Courtyard for an afternoon of bouncy houses, rides, games, raffle baskets, and a bake sale. Later in the week, in the Laura Thomas ‘49 Buck Pavilion, lower schoolers turned up their AIS pride with signature blue and gold manicures, face paint, and lots of glitter. They were also given a crash course in AIS cheers and chants from the upper schoolers, “I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!” 

Leaving their uniforms home for the week, middle and upper schoolers dressed in daily themed get-ups like “Fun in the Sun,” “Disney v. Marvel,” ''Neon,” and no shortage of blue and gold. The week’s comedic highlight featured attire from the “Babies v. Boomers” theme, featuring girls toting canes and walkers, wearing gray wigs and reading glasses, grandpa’s golf attire, and strand after strand of granny pearls. The “babies” sported onesies accessorized with stuffed animals, pacifiers, bottles, and baby bonnets. Throughout the week, the middle schoolers created beautiful posters, designed around the topic of athletic inspiration, which decorated the walls of the Student Life Center. 

Another highlight from Spirit Week were the events held on Thursday evening, featuring a team pasta dinner, a volleyball contest between the faculty, staff and students, pep rally and team dances. The evening concluded with the teams performing standout choreographed dances — complete with matching costumes, colorful wigs, face paint, and glow-in-the-dark accessories — to a fever pitch of cheers, applause, and a waving AIS flag.

Spirit Week crescendoed on Friday, November 12, when Agnes Irwin welcomed Episcopal Academy to campus for varsity cross country, soccer and field hockey events. Despite early gray skies and rain, dedicated students, families, friends, alums, faculty, and staff turned out to cheer on the athletes. The Bel Cantos commenced the event with the alma mater, and the teams were off to, what turned out to be, a sun-filled day of rousing competition, school spirit and camaraderie. 

Acknowledging the relative newness of the AIS/EA day tradition, alumna Allison Rhoads Henderson ‘93, said, “I wish we had this kind of fanfare around girls’ sports back in my day. It is great to see girls getting their day of athletics. It feels equal and that is exciting.” 

Although Agnes Irwin could not claim the banner for 2021, all of its teams represented the community with pride and humility, and put their best efforts into their performances. We congratulate our teams, their families, and our coaches, and are always proud of them. Our community looks forward to the contests in 2022, and wishes both The Haverford School and Episcopal Academy well in their companion contests tomorrow on Haverford/EA Day. 

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