The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

12 Days from the 12th Grade

The Senior Class Continues the Tradition of 12 Days
Photo credit: Cate O’Connor
Seniors take 12 Days production to Boston.

On the last day before Winter break, the student body, faculty, and families gather in the Auditorium to receive a gift from the senior class. It includes music, videos, stunts, costume pieces, and dozens of birds. 

The annual presentation of the 12 Days of Christmas is one of Parker’s most important traditions, dating back over forty years. According to the faculty who put hours into the production, the work to share 12 Days is a labor of love. As Upper School Dean of Students and 12 Days producer Joe Bruno said, “12 Days is a full blown production…there’s so much work that goes into it.” 

Choreographers and seniors Audrey Fuder and Emily Evans accepted the challenge of creating choreography to accommodate the whole senior class, regardless of dance skills and abilities. 

“We kind of just tried to make the choreography as simple as possible, with slower movements…or even using parts of TikTok dances that we see people doing since we don’t have that much time to learn it,” Fuder said.

Fuder chose to be a choreographer for many reasons. A dancer herself, she has watched the dances  at 12 Days every year of her Parker education. Fuder thought that choosing to choreograph 12 Days would be a fun, culminating tradition and a way in which she could take a leadership role. 

The process of creating 12 Days begins months in advance. The first step is asking the members of the 12th grade class which classmates they would like to work with and which of the 12 days is most appealing. Although the presentation of 12 Days is unchanged, the process of assigning groups and days has changed. 

“One of the big shifts that was made five years ago was that students get to select who they want to work with, as opposed to selecting their day, and we assign the groups,” Bruno said. “This has really changed the dynamic of people getting upset, and it allows people to work with who they want to work with as opposed to just the day they want to work on.” 

Additionally, Bruno spoke about the positive outcome of adding a full day of rehearsal on the Wednesday before 12 Days. Bruno indicated that, previously, there was a shortage of time to rehearse in the weeks prior, particularly with the elimination of rehearsals before and after school. This Wednesday rehearsal also provides an opportunity for a senior activity in the afternoon to celebrate the whole class.

While Bruno has been part of the 12 Days production every year since he assumed the role of Dean of Students five years ago, 12th-grade Gradehead Bridget Walsh is in her second year working on  the production.

“In many ways, 12 Days has stayed the same for as long as I’ve been at FWP,” Walsh said. “What we have tried to do with this year’s class is talk about the origins of 12 Days and remind them that this tradition is truly meant as a gift to the community. We had a long discussion about how to think about skits that are inclusive and appropriate for an audience that spans the JK-12th grade students (and parent body).” 

Walsh recognized the positive impact of another member of the Parker community, Upper School drama teacher Cassie Slater. “Having Ms. Slater as Creative Director has really elevated the performance,” Walsh said. “She is truly an expert in her craft and knows how to utilize our auditorium space, coach the student script writers, and put on a cheerful and community-centered show.”

Both Bruno and Walsh had nothing but positive things to say about the members of the Class of 2024. 

“This group of seniors has been amazing. We knew they would be,” said Walsh, “They are extremely respectful, reflective, creative, and fun! We are looking forward to a very special performance and can’t thank the senior class enough. They have been cooperative and flexible and put a lot of energy into making this production a success.” 

“This group is really attentive to deadlines, which helps so much,” he said. “The deadlines need close attention, and so that’s how this group is different here.”Deadlines are a crucial part of the 12 Days production since they are imperative to the editing and approval process. In previous years, 12 Days videos and scripts were submitted hours before the first 12 Days show. As a result, groups had little to no time to remake the scripts and videos into quality content. 

For this year’s production, scripts were due on Friday, November 10. Each of the adults tasked with reviewing the content were expected to provide feedback on any necessary edits by the following Monday. The scripts were reviewed by not only adults in the Upper School but also Middle School and Lower School Division Heads and Deans. 

Upon receiving approval for scripts, seniors were expected to complete their videos by the following Monday, November 20. The same adults reviewed the videos, which allowed the seniors time to make the few edits that they needed before the final production on December 15. 

Although Parker adults are involved in the 12 Days process, 12 Days is primarily a student-run production. Choreographers, scriptwriters, and tech workers are groups of students, each of whom assumes many responsibilities for the production. 

Although a complex and challenging process, the end product of 12 Days is an unforgettable gift from the senior class.

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About the Contributor
Sascha Keller, Staff Writer
Sascha is so exited to start her first year on the Weekly! If she isn’t writing, Sascha will most likely be found spending time with her friends and family.