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Anyone who drove along Grapevine Road on Saturday, May 2, observed what must have looked like a scene from Braveheart. There were flags flying in the wind, faces painted with tribal symbols, and enthusiastic chants echoing from all corners of campus. The occasion? Not a Mel Gibson film, but the first-ever Highland Games at Gordon College.

The Games were dreamed up two years ago by John Buckley ’15 as a way to increase campus spirit and a sense of unity among peers. Scotland holds its own Highland Games each year to celebrate the country’s Gaelic heritage and, considering the Scottish heritage the College holds, bringing the Games to Gordon only seemed fitting.

“When you have something to fight for, it not only gives you a greater sense of meaning but also a greater sense of affiliation with those around you,” said Buckley. “I hope through crowding together, chanting, and challenging each other in the games, we’re able to create an experience that uplifts the identities of our halls and the school as a whole.”

Each residence hall competed in a variety of events, donning matching shirts to facilitate dorm camaraderie. The t-shirts designed by Buckley correspond to flags given to each residence hall in accordance to the heraldry, also designed and envisioned by Buckley. The heraldry displays mascots for each residence hall to represent the various Residence Life communities on campus: a bear for Tavilla Hall, a bull for Bromley, and an eagle for Nyland are just a few among the mix.

In their matching garb, competitors challenged each other in the Heavy Games, Tug-of-War, and Relay Race. The Heavy Games included a lightweight and heavyweight stone throw as well as a “caber toss” (aka log throwing). Residence halls cheered for their respective participants and, in the end, Chase Hall pulled out the win during the Heavy Games and received the Highland Trophy. Bromley Hall won the title of “Most Spirited.” Onlookers were treated to a root beer station (with fun Highland Games-themed mugs!), snacks from The Whoo{pie} Wagon, and Scottish music from local artists.

Victoria Quay ’15 was co-coordinator of the Highland Games and organized much of the day’s schedule. She enjoyed participating and sees great potential for the event to thrive. “This year’s Highland Games were a great starting point,” said Quay. “I definitely see the Games continuing in the future and growing to include more events and opportunities for people to participate.”

Students can also expect to see growth with Exit 17 Live, another student-led initiative spearheaded by John Buckley. Next year’s show will be hosted by Mackenzie Sains ’16 and is guaranteed to be a good time.