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Saint Mary’s welcomes Naval Academy midshipmen with traditional dance

| Monday, November 20, 2017

Before shipping off, Midshipmen had the opportunity to wave hello to Saint Mary’s students at the College’s traditional naval ball — which took place in Rice Commons on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Lilly Chamberlin
Saint Mary’s students socialize with midshipmen at the College’s Navy Ball, which takes place after each home football game between Notre Dame and Navy.

First year student Lilly Chamberlin said she attended the ball to learn more about the Naval Academy.

“I have a friend at the Air Force Academy, so I thought it would be fun to hear about experiences from another Academy,” Chamberlin said.

Sophomore Moira LeMay said she grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, and knew several of the Naval Academy students at the ball. For that reason, she said the ball felt like a small piece of home.

“I liked being able to meet people just for fun, and that’s the beauty of the dance,” LeMay said.

Chamberlin said her favorite part of the ball was dancing, and she enjoyed socializing with Naval Academy students.

After the dance, she said she showed some Midshipmen around Notre Dame’s campus, and they waited with her at the bus stop so she could return to Saint Mary’s.

“They stayed until the bus got there even though they didn’t really know how to get back to the dorm they were staying at,” she said. “I thought that was very polite and showed the good character most of them have.”

The dance was a great way to relieve stress and meet new people, Chamberlin said. Chamberlin said she noticed the ball benefitted not only Saint Mary’s students, but also Naval Academy students.

“[The Navy students] told us it was one of the only times since being at the Academy that they have felt normal, and they thanked us for actually being normal and not only talking military,” she said. “It is a fun thing for them to have a weekend off from reality, and it is nice to meet people who are from a different school and have very different college experiences.”

LeMay said the dance was interesting because not many people knew each other prior to the event.

“It felt like an eighth grade dance, but then it was a better once everyone got over the tension,” she said.

Chamberlin said she thinks the Navy Ball offers entertainment to both parties, so it’s a tradition the school should keep.

“It’s a tradition, so why break it?” she said.

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