What can pack the East cafeteria with students at 6:02 on a Tuesday morning? Here’s a hint: it involves whiskers painted with Magic Marker, bowls of guacamole and inflatable hammers.
Started in 1991 by the National Mole Day Foundation, the event has been a part of East tradition for 17 years. Mole Day celebrates the mole, a measuring unit that is used regularly in chemistry classes. The mole is 6.02 x 1023 and represents how many particles are in one mole of a substance.
All chemistry students are invited to participate in Mole Day, which starts before school at 6:02 on October 23. Students are treated to mole themed foods, like guacamole and donut “moles”, along with bagels, coffee and juice, and play games like Mole-sical Chairs and Whack-a-Mole.
Mole Day was originally brought to East in 1995 by chemistry teacher Cole Ogdon. Ogdon remembers that the first year was very different from current Mole Day festivities.
“The first year we had 20, maybe 30 students come,” Ogdon says. “Compare that to last year, when we had four, almost five times that many come… It’s incredible.”
The first Mole Day was held in the Little Theatre, where a crowd of mostly AP and IB Chemistry students watched the science teachers give presentations and conduct experiments and simulations.
Now, Mole Day is held in the cafeteria and the emphasis is on student enjoyment. While students learn about the mole for chemistry, they also have the opportunity to play games, have fun and receive extra credit for the class.
“We want it to be fun, first and foremost,” Ogdon says. “That’s our main goal.”
In years past, the organization of Mole Day was handled by Ogdon and his fellow chemistry teachers. However, an increase in enrollment in chemistry classes has caused teachers to have busier schedules this year. The decision was made at the beginning of the year to scale down Mole Day, since schedules were so tight.
When they heard that Mole Day would be downsized, a group of five students decided to take charge of planning the event. Seniors Emily Sneed, Ian Crawford, Claire Tracy, Drew Rusten and Stefano Byer approached Ogdon about organizing and were placed in charge of the event.
“[As a sophomore], I really loved Mole Day, I thought it was really fun and it was early but it was worth it,” Sneed said. “When we heard that Mole Day was going to be less this year, we thought that since it’s a tradition and it’s so much fun, we really need to keep it going.”
The five seniors have been meeting before school on Thursdays with Ogdon and fellow Chem teacher Steven Appier for over a month. Each senior has taken on a specific role in planning Mole Day, from organizing shirts to designing this year’s games. Ogdon feels that the students have done everything necessary to make this year’s Mole Day as memorable as always.
“It’s something that we look forward to every year, and they’ve done a great job with it,” Ogdon says. “This is a memory that has always stuck in students’ minds for a while, and we’re going to keep it that way.”