2017 Marks the 110th Anniversary of Sports Day

by Janine St. Germain, St. Bernard’s Archivist
It may have been a rainout, but it still was a milestone! 

With rain firmly planted in the forecast and the grassy fields far too soggy for scores of running feet, Sports Day this year had a rain out.  However, the 110th anniversary of the event made its mark regardless, particularly in the foyer of the school, where a Sports Day exhibition was mounted, including film footage from Sports Day in 1928.

Sports Day is one of the longest standing traditions here at school.  Francis H. Tabor, who served as co-headmaster during St. Bernard’s earliest years, was also superintendent of The Boys’ Club here in New York City at the time.  His work at the Boys’ Club certainly may have inspired him to create the games played during Sports Day here at St. Bernard’s School.

In the early days, Sports Day was held on the estate of Colonel Franklin Brown, in Dobbs Ferry, and on this day, both academic and athletic awards were presented.  Headmaster Jenkins presided over a wide variety of foot races – some with the students, but also others with the mothers, fathers, and even chauffeurs during the earliest years of this event.  Even the potato sack races had their own particular look, with boys strung up to their chins in burlap sacks.

The archives holds an impressive assortment of photographs documenting Sports Day, including relay races, the distribution of awards given that day, as well as images of mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers all enjoying the drama of this long-standing annual event.