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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Traditions

Walnut Hill has been in existence for over 120 years. During that time, our incredible students and faculty have cultivated and sustained many unique and meaningful traditions.

Leadership Retreat & Orientation

Who can forget the excitement of the first day of school? At Walnut Hill, we make sure all students are welcomed warmly to campus by our student leaders. Leadership students arrive a week early to help prepare the campus for the arrival of the new students, working hard to ensure that Walnut Hill is an inviting, accepting place in which to live and learn.

Mountain Day

The senior class comes together every year to climb the 3,166-foot Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The gorgeous scenery of this mountain has been immortalized in many poems, the most famous being “Monadnock” written by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1846. Our artists climb this mountain, following the footsteps of artists and Walnut Hill students before them, pushing toward the top, bonding and finding strength and spirit they may not have known they had. And they do it all—together.

Class Night

On this formal evening, the entire campus community comes together to honor and acknowledge our senior student leaders. Each grade has a family-style dinner, and then we all come together for a special senior ceremony in our Keiter Theater. The Senior Class President and Community Council President speak to us about the goals and dreams for the year, and the junior class gives a gift to the senior class to celebrate the night and get the year started on a positive note.

Boar's Head Feast

We invoke the spirit of the Renaissance with a holiday festival like no other. Skits, songs, village flags, delicious food, and a medieval procession are just part of this joyous and entertaining holiday tradition.

Patriots' Day

Patriots' Day is an official Massachusetts state holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord (the first battles of the American Revolutionary War). It is also the day that the Boston Marathon takes place. Each year on Patriots' Day Walnut Hill suspends classes in order to allow the entire School community to come together for a special assembly, service projects, and fun. The day always involves a chance to walk 10-15 minutes to downtown Natick, which is on the Marathon route, so that students can cheer on the runners.

Tree Day

Walnut Hill’s lush, tree-lined campus is trimmed with history. Every year, our seniors plant a class tree on campus. The tree represents how our seniors have grown and flourished here and will continue to do so out in the world. It is also a gift to the campus as a memory of all the beauty that can be created by a single group of artists.


Ring Day

Our passing of the torch, Ring Day is a time for seniors to give up their school leadership to our junior class. The seniors encircle the juniors and, one by one, trade places with them and give them class rings (or pins). It is an emotional ceremony, as it signals the impending departure of our seniors who have given so much to the School.

Senior Trip Day

The ultimate end-of-year bonding trip! The seniors are excused from a day of classes at the end of the year to participate in a Seniors Only adventure. All seniors in good standing participate in this event.

Candlelight

Two days before Graduation, at dusk, the entire School assembles in the Orchard—dressed in white—for the Candlelight ceremony. The Community Council President and Senior Class President give speeches, and the seniors are the last to extinguish their candles, as they say farewell to the School and to one another. New school leaders are announced, and the seniors end the night with a song.

Awards Ceremony

The day before Graduation, we gather to announce the School awards for academic and arts achievement, attendance, citizenship, and community service. Newly elected leaders and students graduating with honors are celebrated on this special night.

Graduation Dance

A rocking send-off, hosted by the Walnut Hill Family Association, the dance is the place to be on the night before Graduation. It is a musical celebration and an amazing way to send our seniors out into the world.

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