Irving-Marshall week dawns yet again

Irving-Marshall week creates stark, albeit temporary, divisions among the students

Irving-Marshall week creates stark, albeit temporary, divisions among the students.


With spring break on the horizon and fair weather teasing then withdrawing, Mercersburg is in full swing with anticipation of Irving Marshall week. The society athletic competitions, filled with team-spirit as well as antagonism between Marshall and Irving, have commenced. Besides basketball courts and wrestling mats, rivalry also occurs in the dining hall as the societies compete with each other’s “loud swelling cheers.” With the dining hall split into two sides, not unlike the House of Representatives, the rivalrous crowds can erupt into shouts and songs without a moment’s notice.

Last year’s Irving officers show their spirit in the dining hall

Last year’s Irving officers show their spirit in the dining hall

Throughout the week, suspense builds for the final speaking competition. Declamation is the culminating event of the contest and often the deciding factor as to which society claims victory. It was initiated in 1894 by founding head of school William Mann Irvine on Washington Irving’s birthday and has been a tradition ever since. Irving Vice President Brad McGhee ’14 stated, “Irving-Marshall week is by far the most exciting time of the year. Each year it gets more intense than the one before.” On the other side of the competition, Marshall Secretary Johnny Mancini ‘14 said, “Without a doubt, Declamation is my favorite part of the week, but I’m looking forward to participating in the sports because I’m a senior.”

In terms of athletic pursuit, it is imperative that many members of both societies participate. The juniors and lower middlers compete in the junior varsity sections of each sport, the upper middlers and seniors in the varsity counterpart.

Each varsity sport is worth 100 points; each junior varsity 50.

Each varsity sport is worth 100 points; each junior varsity 50.

The competition has evolved with time, yet always contains the fierce element of rivalry and battle in all of the various events. Swimming, diving, basketball, volleyball, squash and wrestling are the featured athletic competitions. Each varsity sport is worth 100 points, and each junior varsity sport is worth 50 points.

Finally, the Ford Games, ping pong, foosball, chess, checkers, pool, and backgammon, are each worth 25 points.  Students of all ages are able to participate, and all are encouraged to cheer on their respective societies. “I look forward to this week all year,” claimed Atticus Shorr ’16.

Last year Marshall won for the second year in a row in a score of 1075-875, with David Glass taking first for his oration of Alexander Blake’s “My Strange Addiction.”  The scoreboard remained tight throughout the entire week. Marshall entered Declamation with a 775–475 lead, having demonstrated the importance of the athletic and board games and making declamation even that much more important.

Irving-Marshall week has always been a student driven event.  Each society’s officers and respective presidents are responsible for planning the events for the week, supported by faculty advisers, Frank Rutherford for Irving and Wells Gray for Marshall. Irving led by Meg Peterson and Marshall by Caitlin Cremins should put up a fight worth cheering for.

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