When a school has been in operation for 100 years, it's only natural that there are some longstanding--and perhaps some not-so-longstanding--traditions. Whether they've been around for years or decades, happen once a year or several times a year, Rectory School traditions are some of the things that make Rectory so unique...and so much fun!
- Faculty Vs. 9th-Grade Games (Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball)
- Mount Monadnock Hike
- Black and Orange Competition
- MLK Jr. Day of Service
- Thanksgiving Dinner
- Baking for Hospice
- Rectory Regatta
There are four events throughout the year that both 9th-grade students and faculty look forward to playing in and our younger students look forward to watching. The First Friday of September is the first of these events where faculty and 9th graders face off for the first time on the soccer field. The second is during the final week of the winter term, where they take the rivalry to the basketball court. During Spring Family Weekend, volleyball is the name of the game! The final First Friday at the end of the year is a rematch on the soccer field. It’s always impressive to see how much growth occurs during the 9th-grade year and these events help demonstrate it. While both sides enjoy their victories, the most important part of each event is sportsmanship, fun, and camaraderie. And, usually, a dress down is on the line for the winner! This is something that many of our younger students watch and cannot wait to participate in during their own 9th-grade year!
Each fall, Mr. Williams and Mr. Walden invite students to join them in the 2 hour drive to Jaffrey, New Hampshire to take on the challenging hike at Mount Monadnock. There have been years where as many as 60 students have taken on the challenge! Each year, Mr. Williams, Mr. Walden, and the various other faculty who have joined the excursion, express their admiration for how strong and determined our students are to reach the top. Some take many hours, some take less, but a high percentage of them always make it to the summit, earning them a beautiful view and then some much deserved ice cream from Kimball’s on the way home!
The Black and Orange rivalry is a decades-old tradition at Rectory School. Upon enrollment or hire, each student and faculty member are assigned to either the black team or the orange team. If a member of your family has already been a member of the Rectory community, you know your color! It’s hereditary! What was previously a once-a-year, all-day affair, consisting of a demonstration of athletic prowess between the teams, has evolved into a competition that spans all three terms and requires athleticism, teamwork, and problem solving. At the end of the year, the three black and orange activity days, as well as all students’ academic and effort grades are factored into the final tally to determine the year’s overall winner. The winner is announced at the Awards Assembly in the spring and an official plaque representing the color of the winning team hangs outside the Headmaster’s office for the year!
On Monday, January 18, 2010, Rectory School started a new tradition to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day of service rather than a day off. Since then, every January on MLK, Jr. Day, Rectory students and faculty devote the time for reflection and action based on Dr. King’s message to serve others. The day begins with student speakers sharing personal stories during Morning Assembly. Afterwards, middle school and elementary school students participate in a variety of activities on campus and in the local area. It is a day to give back by working willingly for the benefit of others.
In the fall of 2015, long-time faculty member, Mr. Long decided to host our first annual boarding community Thanksgiving dinner. He invited all members of the boarding community as well as members of the local community, including first responders, former faculty members, politicians, alumni, and families. The student-run wait staff, alongside the dining hall staff, prepare the dining hall with formal tablecloths and settings. All guests are asked to wear formal holiday attire and are escorted to their assigned table by one of our student hostesses upon arrival. Our local community members love the opportunity to break bread with our students and learn more about our diverse population and our students love the opportunity to enjoy the holiday amongst their school friends. One of our newer traditions, it is certainly one that will last for a long time.
In the fall of 2012, Day Kimball Hospital approached our Director of Student Activities and Marcia Williams about the possibility of taking part in their Tree of Life Lighting Ceremony that takes place annually across the street at Christ Church and benefits the Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut which enhances the lives of terminally ill patients and their families. Rectory was happy to participate and contribute to such a great program. We were asked to provide the refreshments, and that we did! Faculty members selected groups of students and invited them to their homes to create holiday treats to donate. Each year, people comment on how amazing the refreshments are and how wonderful and charitable our students must be. Rectory’s a cappella group, “Recappella,” also provides entertainment during the reception. This has become a looked forward to tradition each December as a way for faculty members and students to spend time together doing something nice for others before the long winter break.
During Mr. Williams’ first year as Head of School, he brought an idea to the Rectory Parents’ Association. He thought it would be a great idea to have the students build boats out of recycled materials and set sail on a designated day in May, to compete in a Regatta across the Rectory Pond. Initially, he was met with many raised eyebrows and more questions than support. However, more than a decade later, the Rectory Regatta is still a steadfast and anticipated event on the calendar each spring. Initially, donations of recyclable materials requested from the community, while students created their teams. Students were then able to select the pieces they were interested in using on two designated “build days.” Now, on these designated build days, teams are encouraged to build and decorate their boats out of recycled cardboard and duct tape alone! They name their boats and plan a team uniform. The day of the Regatta is always fun for everyone participating and spectating! Judges are on hand to select winners in a variety of different categories.