The very first tradition of the year is the New Girl Picnic, during which new girls and new faculty members learn if they belong to the Purple Team or the Gold Team (a key part of their Chatham Hall identity!). Then, competition between the two teams kicks off with a Purple/Gold tug-of-war. The evening ends with the seniors leading the way back to school, lighting the way with their lanterns. That is just the beginning of the many special elements that you'll have to look forward to at our top boarding school. Here is a sampling:
Assemblies are held twice a week in The Well, in the front hall of Pruden. The Rector and Student Council President preside.
Freshmen raise and lower the American flag each day.
Senior Chapel Talks
Each Senior has the opportunity to address the entire community as a way of exhibiting her maturation and growth during her time at Chatham Hall. Working with the Chaplain, she plans the entire Chapel service around a theme and finds creative ways of sharing her story with those important to her. Family members are often present and DVDs are made of each Chapel Talk.
Purple and Gold Teams
Every member of this top boarding school community belongs to either the Purple or the Gold Team (except for administrators and coaches, who must remain impartial). Color is assigned by the Athletic Department; once any family member has received a color, all successive family members will automatically be that same color. Competition between the teams occurs throughout the year.
Honoring the School’s Episcopal heritage, each class assumes responsibility for decorating a portion of the school for Christmas. The seniors prepare a special program for the evening of Decoration Day.
At Christmastime, each outward-facing window in Yardley, Pruden, and Dabney is provided with an electric candle. On the day of the Grand Illumination, a small team of students lights the candles after chapel, while the rest of the student body (and much of the town) watches the light spread through the darkness.
Lessons and Carols
This service, in anticipation of Christmas and other celebrations of light, intersperses music with readings about light and hope. The presidents of each class, a senior faculty member, an alumna, a trustee, and the Rector lead us.
Special Chapel Services
Major religious holidays and Saints Days are acknowledged and celebrated throughout the school year.
A special dinner is held in May for all students who have been active in any of the School’s publications.
Among students this often is called Senior Party because it is a "farewell" party the junior class throws for the seniors. On an unannounced evening in May, after study hall, the junior class "kidnaps" the seniors, leads them around campus blindfolded in silly costumes, and eventually leads them back to Yardley for a celebration.
Purple and Gold Banquet
At the end of the school year, a formal banquet is held to recognize students for their accomplishments in riding and athletics.
Senior Night in the Well
There are two Senior Night in the Well traditions. At the beginning of Commencement Week in the spring, seniors gather to read the Class Prophecy and sing their own version of “We’re Comin’ Back!” The second Senior Night in the Well is held prior to Christmas: seniors prepare a Christmas play in secret then perform it for the entire school.
Two nights before Commencement, the Senior Class is transported to a secret place for a formal banquet.
Juniors go on a treasure hunt using clues left by the seniors(who are enjoying Senior Banquet). The hunt leads them to the name of the senior who will give them their lantern and their Chatham Hall ring.
The seniors return, light their lanterns, and circle the dorms singing “Esto Perpetua,” written by Judith Fenn, Class of 1956. They proceed to the Senior Stairs where the juniors serenade them.
On the night before Commencement, each class competes in a song contest. A silver bowl is presented to the winners.
The night before Commencement, the seniors pass their lanterns to the juniors in a carefully choreographed ceremony. The juniors also receive their class rings and take possession of the Senior Stairs.