by Mairin Hoffman ’25
On May 8th, 2022, The Frederick Gunn School held their yearly crew regatta, Founders Day, at our home lake, Lake Waramaug, after a 3-year hiatus due to the pandemic. At Founders Day, 500 student-athletes will represent more than a dozen teams from independent/public high schools throughout the New England area. It is a beloved tradition here at FGS. Founders Day has been happening since 1959 when Katherine Conroy of Washington bestowed upon the school’s longtime crew coach Rod Beebe a gift of $5,000 and a large sterling silver trophy, called initially the Founder’s Cup. In the first race, 60 boys from Gunn, Choate, and Haverford raced over a three-quarter-mile course on the New Preston side of Lake Waramaug, and Gunn won the cup.
On Sunday, we raced against schools like Berkshire, Canterbury, Pomfret, Greenwich Academy, Deerfield, and many more in a highly competitive race of 1,500 meters on the beautiful Lake Waramaug, about 15 minutes away from school.
The day started early, with the first race planned to take place at 9:00. My race was first, and we all packed onto the bus. When we got there, we noticed the horrible wind conditions on the water, and while my boat was doing our warm-up, our race got canceled. The water was whitecapping and we were very close to capsizing so we had to row back to dock. It definitely didn’t go as planned, but that didn’t stop our other brave Gunn boats.
Hundreds of people showed up in support of FGS and even volunteered to help out. The wind was so treacherous that things were blowing away, but races were still on. Our Gunn boats performed well in the chaotic weather, as they were planning to race in the finals, but the finals were canceled last minute because the weather got too dangerous. We were against some of the best high school crew teams in the country, so the races were very competitive. Our girls 2V got third, girls 1V got fifth, and boys 1V got fourth.
Although the weather tried to take us down, our community was brought together today, both through parents who came to the race and peers who simply supported and cheered on their teammates. So many volunteers, faculty, and students showed their support and enthusiasm by showing up on an early Sunday morning, and it makes one realize how much community matters here at FGS.