Oak Hill Blog

Celebrating the holidays with boarding school traditions

Boarding school life at Oak Hill Academy thrives on traditions. We are a family, and as is the case with any family, traditions are useful for celebrating milestones – be they holidays, academic ceremonies, or community events.  Here on The Hill, our focus on traditions is part of the structure that defines us.  

The year begins with the President’s Welcome Picnic on the first weekend of the school year.  After a delicious dinner, students are teamed up with their faculty advisors for fun activities like competing to create the best Play Doh sculpture of a new staff member, or eating Oreo cookies without using your hands.  Swimming and boating at the lake are always a fun part of this event.

In September we have Parents’ Day, where our families are invited to campus for various events, including teacher conferences. October is the time for the annual Harvest Festival at the Lake, where we hold a Halloween costume contest, an inflatable obstacle course, and hayrides around campus. On Halloween day, we invite local children to come to campus and climb aboard the Halloween Hayride that meanders throughout our grounds and makes a stop at each dormitory, where the Academy students can give out candy and enjoy the kids in their costumes.

November brings us our annual Homecoming celebration, where our students meet and engage with the alumni that come back to campus. They share a meal together and then enjoy two nights of amazing basketball in historic Turner Gymnasium.  Later in November, we host our formal Thanksgiving meal, and a few days later our students depart campus to be with family for the holiday.

December brings our Christmas dinner and Winter Dance, something we all look forward to. 

February is Spirit Week with various activities scheduled throughout the month that help us maintain focus and resolve as we await spring again.

After a 2-week spring break in March, April means it’s time for our spring Parents’ Weekend, an event altogether different from our fall gathering.  At this multi-day event, we’ll have an equestrian showcase, an art show, a musical performance from the Academy’s music class, a formal meal with all parents, and of course, the annual spring play. In recent years our students have performed such hits as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Harry Potter. This spring we look forward to the Oak Hill rendition of Shrek!

In May, we hold our Spring Formal, Senior Breakfast at the President’s home, Senior Skip Day (where the seniors leave campus after breakfast to go do various chaperoned activities off campus while everyone else goes to school), Baccalaureate, and Commencement.

For those here for Summer Session, July 4th brings us to a great picnic and celebration followed by fireworks.  Later in July, we host Alumni Weekend on campus, and students are again able to engage with the relatively large number of former students who return to campus to celebrate their time on The Hill.

These traditions aren’t just routines; they’re the guideposts that make our school year memorable and meaningful for all.

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