Mac Boney ’18
The Bonfire is an event like no other; everyone who is a part of the event remembers it for a lifetime. Sadly, though, a crucial aspect of The Bonfire gets overlooked each and every year: the actual construction of the two story high feature donning the flag of The Goons and whose only fate is to catch fire and burn.
The Physical Fitness (PF) team coached by Mr. Raphael Sydnor (Class of ’97), along with the Rapidan team construct the beast over the course of about a day and a half. “The construction of The Bonfire is the most school spirited event besides actually playing in the game,” comments Mr. Sydnor. The building of The Bonfire requires hard work, as hundreds of pieces of dry, thick trees must be gathered and stacked on top of each other. Mr. Sydnor explained to me how difficult it is to begin the building process, such as how precise one must be when placing the wood on top of the pallets. If one tree is misplaced, the whole structure will likely collapse.
Once the students have gathered all of the wood that is needed to construct the feature, they begin to place it into a bonfire figure. Normally, stacking wood is not a very challenging thing to do-but these are not your ordinary pieces of wood. These are full-length trees which weigh up to several hundred pounds. Those who build The Bonfire must pick up and maneuver these extremely heavy tree trunks into a mass pile, a pile that will eventually be set ablaze.
As a student, I find it truly amazing how big of a turnout there is at the event. Between the alumni, students, faculty, and family members, there are well over 1,000 people that attend The Bonfire every year. As a school, we should take pride in the fact that our Bonfire is two stories high, unlike some other schools down the road in Alexandria. It can be an easy thing for us students to take The Bonfire for granted. But we should honor and respect those who built it because it is an incredibly hard process without which our great tradition would not exist.