Upper School Traditions
At the beginning of the academic year, every student, faculty and staff member in the Middle and Upper Schools signs our Honor Board as a commitment to our core values ― respect, responsibility, honesty and compassion―and engagement in community life.
During Town Meeting, the entire Upper School meets in the gym as a community. This is a time for students and faculty to make announcements or presentations of interest to the Upper School, and occasionally includes guest speakers or performers. Guest presenters in 2015 included ESPN SportsCenter Anchor Jay Harris and New York Times Bestselling author and speaker Rachel Simmons.
Students wear specific colors each day to show respect, tolerance and to oppose bullying in the School community.
Student Diversity and Leadership Conference
Students apply each year to attend this conference in which they engage with their peers in dialogue about critical diversity challenges, and receive training they bring back to School to encourage inclusion, respect and compassion among their fellow students. Faculty sponsor this very important weekend conference.
The fall All-School Gathering is one of two opportunities during the academic year for the entire School community to come together. This event marks the beginning of the year with the lighting of a lantern that remains lit in the Office of the Headmaster until the final Senior completes his or her requirements for graduation.
Poetry Out Loud
Students begin by studying and selecting poems in English class before participating in a classroom recitation. Teachers then select nominees for a School-wide competition, during which each qualifier recites a poem to the student body and a panel of judges scores each speaker. Winners advance to the next round and must recite a second poem. The panel of judges selects a winner and a runner-up, with the winner advancing to the State competition.
Each winter, students in Grades 7-12 have the opportunity to participate in this annual trip to Maine for dog sledding, cross-country skiing and winter camping. Students lead their own dog teams across beautiful terrain by Lake Umbagog as they learn survival skills and connect with their peers in this outdoor “classroom.”
During the second all school gathering of the academic year, we convene as a community to celebrate the anniversary of Flint Hill’s reorganization in 1990.
Celebrating more than 100 nations represented at Flint Hill, this annual festival of cultural heritages features the clothing, music, dance and traditions of our students and their families.
Each year, Flint Hill and the Ceramics Club host an Empty Bowls event to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger in the local community. Students, faculty and staff work throughout the year to create handcrafted bowls for the program. Attendees are invited to purchase a simple meal of soup and bread during the event, and may keep their bowls as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.
Upper School Variety Show
During this popular, lively winter event, students and faculty take the stage to showcase their talents at the Lower and Middle School Campus, with students also serving as emcees for the program.
TEDx Youth Day
Each year, Middle and Upper School Students participate in TEDxYouthDay (TEDx Youth@FHS), a series of TEDx events that occur around the world to coincide with Universal Children’s Day in late November. These events are designed to empower and inspire young people. These events vary widely in size, format, and theme, but they share a common vision: inspiring curiosity, igniting new ideas, and empowering young leaders.
Enhancing their study of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Upper School English students don costumes from the Roaring Twenties and spend a morning in character and in conversation about the topics of Gatsby’s day. The Upper School Commons is transformed by this display of dapper gentleman and flappers donning period dress.
Closing Ceremonies and Commencement
On the official last day of school, following exams, the morning begins with advisory groups meeting for a final breakfast celebration. Then, the Upper School community makes its way to the gym to enjoy a video of the year’s highlights, and applaud the winners of various departmental awards, book awards, leadership awards and Senior Class honors. Flint Hill Medals are presented at the end.
Freshman Fiesta Dinner with the Headmaster
At the beginning of the academic year, Headmaster John Thomas hosts an annual Fiesta for the Freshman Class.
Junior Letter Day
In the spirit of The Scarlet Letter, each Junior wears a letter confessing their own weakness, sin or character flaw.
As the culmination of their studies in the Upper School, Seniors undertake an independent project with an off-campus organization. After meeting with a mentor to develop their plan and submitting a proposal to a faculty committee for approval, students spend 80 hours in the work setting of their choice. Through this experience, they gain valuable skills in setting and meeting goals, learn the importance of self-driven work and explore possible career paths. At the completion of the project, students deliver a presentation to a panel of faculty members, reflecting on their experience and sharing what they learned.
Town Meeting Dismissal
During all Town Meetings, Seniors are dismissed from the gym first.
Senior Fiesta Dinner with the Headmaster
At the end of the academic year, Headmaster John Thomas hosts an annual Fiesta for the Senior Class.
Each day during the last week before seniors begin their Senior Projects is dedicated to themed spirit dress, and special activities, including the senior speeches and a senior breakfast with the Division Director and Assistant Director. Seniors are applauded as they enter their final Town Meeting in front of the students and faculty.
On the last Friday of Senior Week, each Senior is provided the opportunity to give a three-minute speech reflecting upon their time at Flint Hill.