A Look at Agnes Scott's Week-Long Celebration
In all honesty, this year’s experience of Black Cat blew my first year out of the water. It was so much fun and left me full of love and gratitude for my fellow Scotties. (It may be because I actually went to events this year. The world may never know.)
So what is Black Cat? On tours, I like to describe it as the Agnes version of a Homecoming week, but it began(as many great college traditions do) as a prank war. The origin story varies, but according to McCain Library archives, back in the days of yore when hazing was legal (1915), a faculty member organized Black Cat as a “battle of the wits” for the first-year and sophomore classes to replace freshman hazing. The class that won received a bronze statue of, you guessed it, a cat. Eventually, this tradition expanded to all classes and included a dance at the end of the week. The competition for the Black Cat award became more ferocious each year, so new events were added throughout the week for different classes to earn points and win the award. Now, in our modern times that strictly forbid hazing, Black Cat week includes an entire week of events, including a class party every night in Evans Dining Hall each hosted by a different class. The week starts off with a tradition called “Rush the Quad” — in which we artfully trash the campus in our class colors.
Since I sometimes visit home on weekends, I didn’t think I would go to Rush the Quad this year, but since I ended up coming back to campus early that Sunday, I thought “why not?”
It was an amazing start to the week! My friend and I dressed up for the night with intense makeup, which included but was not limited to golden glitter lightning bolts and 95’s drawn in lipstick (gotta represent our class mascot, Lightning McQueen! Kachow!) before we headed out to wait in Winship Hall. Waiting to start the night was awesome, especially seeing everyone in their class colors and blasting loud music while we waited for midnight. As soon as the clock hit midnight, BAM! We charged at the sheds in the back to drag out whatever red items we had to decorate the quad. My personal touch was finding a few beams painted red and arranging them into a lightning bolt. Like I said, kachow.
But the party wasn’t over yet. After we decorated with as much as we could find from those sheds, we went into Alston Campus Center and raced up to our class floor. There were red, black and yellow balloons flying everywhere and streamers lacing every available surface. As per Agnes tradition, someone found a way to connect to the speaker in the Alston lobby so we had music to dance to once we finished decorating. Decorating took an hour at most. Dancing took way longer than that. It was so fun to scream lyrics to songs as we danced together in the Alston Hub, regardless of what class we were in.
Monday was Hub Sing, which was a great start to the official week after the massive party of Rush the Quad. We gathered back in the Alston Hub and passed out song books, filled with traditional Agnes songs like “Tiddlytot” and “All Hail.” Some songs were silly and some songs were concerningly sad, (Seriously, who was writing that song about the Titanic? It really was so sad, so sad, it was sad when that great ship went down.) but it was still fun to sing with my friends.
Tuesday night was Class Trivia Night, which I found myself unexpectedly wrangled into (my friend asked nicely). While the red class didn’t win a lot of points, it was still a blast to try and figure out if “Carmilla” or “Interview with a Vampire” was the first book to romanticize vampires. Truly Agnes-core. Where else would you have these kinds of discussions?
Wednesday was unfortunately the only event I had to skip, Arts and Crafts with Programming Board. However, I did get to go to the red class party at dinner, and it was so cool! The theme of this year’s dance was “The Haunting of Agnes Scott,” and the red class really took that theme to heart. There was a fog machine at the entrance, a heavy black backdrop behind a coffin prop and fake candelabras on the tables.
Thursday is my personal favorite event, Bonfire Night. Unfortunately, that one is a bit of an Agnes secret I can’t tell. However, I can tell you about the after-event called Clean the Quad. Just like Sunday night, we ran around campus and into Alston to clean all the damage we had done with loud music and dancing. Just like last time, cleaning only took about an hour before we all gathered in the lobby to dance for hours. One of the things I love most about Agnes is how open and welcoming the community can be. If you find the right people you connect with, you can have amazing experiences that last much longer than just that one night.
Friday was the big night of performing after field day. While I didn’t go to field day, I spent most of the day getting ready for Junior Production. Junior Production is when the junior class puts on a satirical play about their Agnes experience. Before the performance, however, Song and Dance Committees performed from each class. Like usual, the red class were shining stars. The other classes were fine too, I guess, but I might be just a liiiittle bit biased. I’m so excited for our JP next year! (Don’t tell anyone, but I’m already thinking about our class song for next year, shh!)
Saturday was the Black Cat herself, the formal! I spent the day very productively getting ready by staying in bed until noon and only getting up to attend the awesome movies and snacks event my RA hosted. After that, I spent most of the day doing some work until 6 p.m., when I finally got actual clothes on to go take photos. I was hoping to practice my rusty photography skills, and Scotties showed up to help me out! The dance started at 8, and although I thought I would only stay for a short time, I ended up having too much fun and stayed long enough for the DJ to kick us out.
This year, the dance was relocated to Alston Campus Center (from its usual location of Evans Dining Hall) because of scheduling conflicts with a wedding and moving Black Cat Week in the calendar. People were concerned about the quality of the dance being different but in my opinion, it was actually more fun than last year’s dance! There was a dessert station with some yummy s’mores bites, a full hot cocoa bar, and finger foods. It was so fun walking around and seeing Scotties dressed in their Black Cat Best, ranging from ethereal and ghostly gowns to bright suits.
Black Cat isn’t really about the events. It’s not even about the competition. This is the one week of the year Scotties take an intentional break from focusing only on school to celebrate class unity and their fellow Scotties of different classes. This is the week new friendships are made and bonding with those you already know.
I hope you all enjoyed my perspective of this week! I know I had so much fun this week and if you’re a prospective Scottie, I hope this quick peek into our version of Homecoming was a blast!