Parents Weekend, No Matter the Weather

Friday, October 12, 2018. Projected weather: cloudy and cool. Actual weather: 40 degrees Fahrenheit and raining. Last year’s weather for the Senior Bonfire? Sunny and hot – almost too hot. 

Needless to say, this polar (pun intended) opposite weather extreme came as a bit of a shock and kept many visitors indoors, but dedicated Lakers soldiered on to carry out the Senior Bonfire and Parents Weekend activities as planned. This is, after all, the most defining – and perhaps the most legendary – La Lu tradition of all.

Some changes to the schedule of events put students and their activities into the spotlight: Science Olympiad gave a demonstration of some of the projects they’ve been working on; the Art Room turned into a gallery for showcasing student work; solo musicians and music class groups alike performed an eclectic mix of song in the Student Activities Center; parents had the opportunity to meet with the teachers of their students to learn more about what’s current in classes.


Following a warm, autumnal dinner in the Moore House, seniors gathered for a pep rally amongst themselves while their families, classmates, and guests made their way to a tent that had been put up at Sullivan Field for warm drinks and dessert.


Just across the field, of course, the storied tepee of branches waited in darkness on a patch of grassless ground that’s been scorched dry from years of bonfires past.

But that dry patch had turned to mud after a long day of rain and the base of the unlit bonfire sat soaking in a deep pool of water. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t stop for the seniors and their special tradition. The tiny specks of torch fire that dotted the forest on the other side of Lake La Lumiere began to extinguish the longer they were exposed to the elements, waiting to arrive at their final destination.

In spite of the challenges they faced, the students banded together, making pit stops along their path and even at the entrance of the bonfire ring to light and relight each other’s torches. They were patient through the wind and the rain, choosing to remain focused on the celebration before them: an acknowledgement of the paths they and their peers had taken to arrive at this point – literally and figuratively.


Many of the torches didn’t survive the infamous bonfire-lighting toss, instead making their way into that pool of water at the foot of the branches. But the Facilities crew lent a helping hand in the form of a fire-blowing kerosene tank, and the Senior Bonfire came alive.

The following day’s chill was comparable but the sky was clear, making for a perfect autumn day, crisp and cool, during which to gather in the name of former Heads of School (cue Moore, Webster, Bunting, and Sullivan Head’s Cup team members yelling chants with competitive teenage energy).

Following a morning Mass in the FAB, parents and students were invited to participate in La Lumiere’s first-ever Parents Weekend Head’s Cup Carnival, which included lawn games like bag toss and closest-to-the-pin golf, an indoor ping pong tournament, and a students-only soccer match. It was the first time (in recent memory, at least) that parents had an opportunity to contribute points to Head’s Cup teams. They belong, after all, to the same team that their children are assigned to. You know what they say: once a Moore, Webster, Bunting or Sullivan, always a Moore, Webster, Bunting, or Sullivan! (That’s not really what they say, but you get the point.)


All in all, the weekend proved to be a testament, once again, to the fact that La Lumiere’s greatest strength lies in its commitment to community and the compassion that lies therein. This, in turn, generates a passion for La Lumiere that compels alumni to return every year for events like these; it makes us turn immediately to anticipating the next “family reunion” at the end of the day; and it’s what keeps family members and friends toughing out the wind and rain to see their loved ones shine in a most beloved tradition.

Until next year, Senior Bonfire – no matter the weather!


If you’re a current La Lumiere parent or student, you can view more photos of Spirit Week and Parents Weekend events by logging in at