Today's aerobics routines evolved from calisthenics drills, when the girls wore bloomers under their tunics instead of gym shorts. Early gym meets also had lavish props, says NDP athletic director Mary Bartel, but that was stopped after the school moved to its present location and one class couldn't get a prop through the gym doors.
"It's evolved, but it's all the same feeling everybody gets wrapped up in," says Mary Lou Tillman, captain of the Class of 1962 and mother of Katy Annis, Class of 1991.
"My mother was in the very first gym meet. On the 60th anniversary, Katie was the freshman captain and my mother was there. It was a really phenomenal night for us as a family," she adds.
The same is true of many families with NDP ties.
Joe Dougherty first encountered gym meet as a student at Loyola Blakefield, when he was dating his now-wife, Anne. But he was won over when his daughter Clare, Class of '96, attended NDP. The dedication of the students, the closeness it engenders among classmates and the thrill of the performance makes "a great, great tradition," he says.
"I've seen Les Miz three times. I've seen Notre Dame play Penn State. I've been to all kinds of things. Nothing compares to gym meet."
Pub Date: 3/05/99