Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

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Areas schools use time-honored traditions to inspire students, create unity in community

At University School, Founders Day is among many time-honored traditions. Established in 1995, it is a well-loved kindergarten through 12th grade community day held annually in September. 

 

 

By SUE REID

When it comes to time-honored traditions, area private schools both celebrate and embrace a wide variety of them.

At Laurel School, a great tradition called the Gerbera Daisy ceremony is one of several that take place throughout the year. This involves seniors giving a daisy to a kindergartener in August, welcoming them to the Laurel community. In May, the kindergartners then give one to the seniors as a symbol of their leaving Laurel.

Another tradition at Laurel involves the Junior Ring Chapel, where juniors receive their Laurel rings and then have classmates and teachers turn them as many times as their class year.

Traditions are continuing to be created at Lawrence School’s upper campus, which has graduated only 12 classes this far. These traditions are often inspired by the students. For example, a senior class once raised money to put in a fire pit and seating outside where they held a class bonfire and dinner the week of gradation. That has since become a beloved tradition for seniors.

This year, seniors visited the Lawrence lower school the week of graduation to spend time with the sixth-graders, who would be graduating. The morning included inspirational talks, sharing treats and, at the end, the entire school clapped out the seniors in an emotional walk through the building.

At University School, Founders Day is among many time-honored traditions. Established in 1995, it is a well-loved kindergarten through 12th grade community day held annually in September.

Founders Day gives US students an opportunity to celebrate the school and engage in friendly competition as members of different Houses. The school is divided into 10 Houses named after founders and former administrators. The day begins with a commemoration of the school’s history and founding in 1890, and ends with the presentation of the Founders Cup to the winning house.

The camaraderie of House activities and competitions throughout the year leads to friendships that last a lifetime.

At Hathaway Brown School, traditions abound, with two great ones being Convocation and Legacy Days.

With its annual Convocation ceremony, HB Upper School students launch each new school year with all the pomp and circumstance benefiting such an occasion. Led by the strains of bagpipe music, ninth- through 12th-graders march together behind bright Legacy Day flags of their corresponding class colors (red, blue, green, and purple) through a sea of cheering parents and faculty and staff members who welcome them back to the corner of Courtland and North Park boulevards for another year of growth.

The entire scene is repeated in reverse when the senior class travels through a gauntlet of well-wishers who “clap them out” into the world at the close of their commencement ceremony in the spring.

Students at HB are also welcomed by head of school Dr. Fran Bisselle with gifts of flowers and words of inspiration. At that time of the gathering, Dr. Bisselle announces the theme for the coming school year, a unifying idea that all of the members of the community use to guide their efforts.

Legacy Days is based on HB’s Legacy Program, which builds on the class color tradition to foster a stronger sense of full-school community and create connections, friendships and camaraderie across divisions.

The Spring Legacy Day features an annual re-enactment of the story of HB’s “five founding girls,” young women who ushered in the founding of the school. The senior class also is treated to a serenade by younger members of the school community and they take part in a fun color run. With the run, they are doused with multicolored powder to symbolize all of the HB legacy groups sending them out into the world and marking the close of their HB careers.

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