March Madness or March Sadness?

It seemed as though an Academies@Englewood  tradition had withered. But after a period of negotiation with DMAE administrators, Christina McGrath and the Mad Hatters were thrilled that March Madness, the highly anticipated celebratory month, was restored for 2016. Still, the return of the celebrated tradition came at a price: a shortened schedule.

“I was frustrated that March Madness was shortened,” said sophomore and Mad Hatter Gregory Herrera.  “However, I felt we had the best time this year because we made the most of everything, after nearly losing the event.”

Unlike the past years where every school day of March consisted of a theme, only ten days of March were allotted into the schedule this year as the administration discouraged planning events near PARCC testing. The setbacks, however, infused students with an even greater determination to enjoy Game Day, the admittedly most anticipated day of the month.

On Game Day, music was blaring and students were sprinting into the auditorium full of high spirits and determination. They were decked out in face paint, hand-made necklaces, and matching T-shirts  to represent their academies.

“Game day was a blast as always,” said sophomore Radhika Shah.  “My friends and I looked like a rainbow in our March Madness pictures.”

The Mad Hatters went back to the original format of having each academy play “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”  Student contestants from each grade competed in the trivia game for each of the five academies.  These contestants were chosen through the highest scores on written trivia tests taken the previous week.

As a senior, it was both exciting yet sad at the same time because it was my last Diversity Day.

Many students take great pride in the March Madness festivities, as they consider it the savior of the school year.

“March Madness has brought me closer to those in school over the past four years since the competitive spirit is transferred from academia to something less stressful,” said senior Ankit Shingala. “This is one of those times when I think everyone generally has pride in where we go to school.”

In the end, the Finance Academy was crowned March Madness champions, followed by Biomedicine in second, Pre- Engineering in third, Law and Public Safety in fourth, and Information Systems in fifth.

“This was the year my whole grade wanted to win, not just because it was senior year, but also because there was talk that this could be the last March Madness ever,” said senior Janice Wang. “It definitely was an emotional win, since Finance started off in last place in the beginning of game day and we’ve always been the smallest academy.”

The conclusion of March Madness was quite dramatic as Biomedicine was “mistakenly” declared the winner, much like the Steve Harvey mistake at the Miss Universe Pageant. The entire Biomedicine Academy went from roaring in excitement to staring in shock as the Finance Academy was named the actual champions.

“I think it was a great month and the kids kept the tradition alive,” said Ms. McGrath.  “It helps AE students make friends and have Academy and school pride.”

Next year Ms. McGrath is planning to have a trophy for the winning academy.