School Traditions Create Community
Rowland Hall is proud to be rich in traditions, some dating back to the early 1900s.
All-School Convocation, begun in 2009, is celebrated on the Friday of the first week of school every year. Two of the students' favorite parts of All-School Convocation are the student body president's welcome address and the high fives given to first graders by the new senior class. Prior to 2009, each division held its own convocation ceremony.
Since 2009, the Upper School Student Council has presented distinguished graduates with its Alumni Hall of Fame Awards. This award honors alumni for their contributions to their former school community and the community-at-large.
Each May, junior and senior art students present the AP Art Exhibit in the Larimer Center Gallery. These students learn much about the professional exhibition process and are very proud to highlight their work at a reception that coincides with the opening night of an arts performance—the whole community is invited to attend.
The annual Baccalaureate Service is held in St. Margaret's Chapel on the Thursday evening before twelfth-grade graduation ceremonies. This quiet and reflective service focuses on the growth and achievements of the senior class. Rowland Hall's baccalaureate service dates back to the 1890s and is a cherished tradition.
The Upper School Student Council organizes the annual Battle of the Classes—a week of spirited games and competitions between the grades during April. Each grade dons a class T-shirt designed by their grade's class officers. Regardless of which grade wins, our spirits are raised by the frivolity of the week!
Every other spring our community gathers for the Auction, an elegant evening with live and silent auctions to raise funds for the school. An executive committee of parents voluteers enormous amounts of time and talent to ensure the event is a roaring success. Our auction is one of the premier events in Salt Lake City and helped set the standard for successful nonprofit auctions throughout the state.
The annual Home and School Book Fair is an event our whole community looks forward to each fall. The Lower School librarian and Home and School volunteers have organized this three-day event for over 20 years, and proceeds from book sales benefit the school's libraries. The school's partnership with The King's English Bookshop guarantees that this is a successful fundraiser at which our children and parents find a variety of books and gifts in time for the holidays.
Since 2004, Rowland Hall Upper School students have come together to kick off the school-wide Fall Canned-Food Drive with a concert called Canapalooza. Proceeds benefit Crossroads Urban Center's Emergency Food Pantry. The concert lineup features an eclectic mix of student and teacher musicians. Throughout October, Rowland Hall students collect and contribute tons of food to support a local food pantry and the state's food bank.
Candle and Carol is Rowland Hall's oldest tradition. Rowland Hall students have participated in Candle and Carol, a holiday concert and service at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, each December since 1917. One of the school’s most honored traditions, the holiday program includes student performances, hymns, scripture readings, and a homily, and has become a family tradition for generations.
The Christmas Dinner Giveaway has been conducted by Crossroads Urban Center and hundreds of Rowland Hall volunteers—students, faculty and staff, families, and alumni—every December since 1995. This important event provides holiday dinners for over 1,200 families in need each year.
Beginning School and Lower School students celebrate the end of school with Color Day, an annual event that has each age group wearing a different brightly colored T-shirt to indicate their grade level. Featuring games, relays, water play, music, dancing, and lots of smiling faces—Color Day has been a tradition at Rowland Hall since 1982
Commencement Exercises are held for graduating fifth graders, eighth graders, and twelfth graders. Fifth-grade students are honored at a service in St. Margaret's Chapel, eighth graders' are celebrated in the Larimer Center, and twelfth grade Commencement is held at the McCarthey Campus. The senior class traditionally selects the Commencement speaker from among their upper school faculty.
All families on the McCarthey Campus are invited to participate in an evening of Family Caroling, celebrated in St. Margaret's Chapel. This school tradition dates well back to Rowland Hall boarding school days and continues to be a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season.
First graders spend part of the fall and winter learning about the beauty and importance of the world's rainforests. To accompany their study, they have, since 1993, held their annual First-Grade Penny Drive to raise money to purchase a section of the rainforest to be preserved.
Grandparents Day is celebrated the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We enjoy meeting the grandparents who come from nearby and far away to join us for a short program, tours, and classroom visits. Grandparents Day replaced Special Friends Day in 2011, which had been an annual event at the school for many years.
The entire Upper School student body and faculty, with the support of 30 to 40 parents, participate in the Half Day Whole Heart service project in mid-October (the afternoon of the PSAT test). On this day, students, teachers, and parent volunteers blanket the community and work with over a dozen nonprofits. This half day of service was instituted in 2003.
The Hallmarker Dinner recognizes many donors who have made another successful year possible for the Annual Fund. Donors and class liaisons, as well as departing trustees, are recognized. Student musical performances are a highlight of this evening event that has taken place in early May since 1984.
For as long as our school has existed, our students have presented Holiday Programs for their family members every year, just prior to winter break. Today, songs, dances, and skits celebrate the Christian holiday as well as the holidays and traditions of other faiths at these standing room only programs.
Since 1975, Upper School students have enjoyed Interim, a weeklong experiential program unique among Utah schools. Students have the option of participating in a variety of in-town and out-of-town experiences that may include film studies and videography, learning about the world of public radio, cycling the Wasatch, hiking in Moab, river rafting, exploring environmental issues, and acquiring life skills that will come in handy in those first weeks of college.
Following the Senior Breakfast, future graduates go to St. Margaret's Chapel on the McCarthey Campus for Baccalaureate Rehearsal. During this time, they are visited by the kindergartners, who have made bookmarks as gifts to the seniors, and who serenade the seniors with "Make New Friends And Keep The Old." This touching, annual Kindergarten and Senior Exchange is capped off when the senior class presents a class flag to the kindergarten class. The flag is framed and moves with the class from grade to grade until they graduate from Rowland Hall.
The Lower School's Mask Parade is a treasured fall tradition. Every year our art teacher and students outdo themselves with glittering, gorgeous creations to show off on a Friday afternoon near Halloween. In addition to donning mixed-media masks, students carry handmade musical instruments.
The first recorded Middle School Class Trip took place in 1995. Today, each Middle School grade takes a weeklong fall trip to bond, explore, and learn.
The School Musical is cast with Middle School and Upper School students and brings our whole community together. Each winter we look forward to enjoying the talents of our students in a variety of musical theater productions, from The Sound of Music to Oliver to the hilarious Putnam County Spelling Bee..
The inaugural Ninth-Grade Class Trip took place in 1995. Each year the entire grade travels for a week to Camp Roger (east of Kamas, Utah) to learn about the geography and nature of our state, to participate in community service projects, and to get to know one another and their teachers at the beginning of the school year.
Puttin' on the Arts is a spring tradition dating back to at least the 1980s. This Lower School student variety show is very much student-generated, yet teacher approved, entertainment for the students themselves and for families alike. Puttin' On The Arts Recitals are held separately and feature instrumental and vocal performances by our young students.
Since 1991, senior Biographies have been written each year by our sixth graders, highlighting the experiences of seniors during their time at Rowland Hall. During the spring trimester, sixth graders and their seniors get to know each other and share stories, then all the biographies are presented by the younger students during the final Senior Biography presentation.
Dating back to 1924, the senior class has been invited to celebrate their graduation with a senior breakfast. Today the event is hosted by the the Alumni Committee chair who inducts all member of the graduation class into the Alumni Association during the breakfast. This long-running event at which an accomplished alumnus or alumna is invited to speak kicks off the festivities of commencement week for seniors.
At the final assembly of Lower School children and parents in June, Stepping Back is the highlight of the day. Each grade, in this tradition dating back to Rowland Hall boarding school days, takes a step back as they “graduate" to the next grade level for the coming school year.
Third-Grade Biographies have been presented every May since 1986. Each year, third graders research a historical figure and execute their public speaking skills, much to the delight of their classmates, teachers, and parents. Albert Einstein, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Alexander Graham Bell, Eleanor Roosevelt, and more make their appearances...in costume.
The Winter Sports program officially began in 1965. All students in first through eighth grades enjoy this Friday afternoon program during January and February, when they can choose to ski, snowboard, bowl, ice skate, and more, with their peers and teachers.