School Traditions

Ice Cream Social

The Thursday before Labor Day, we invite all families, new and returning, to gather and get to know one another. Students meet each other, their buddy/mentor, and their advisor and advising group.

Mountain Day

The Thursday before Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the entire school (faculty, staff, students) gets together to climb a local mountain and have a picnic at the top.

Candlelight Ceremony

This takes place the evening after Mountain Day, and is our most long-standing tradition. Faculty. staff, and students process into two circles - one inner and one outer - surrounding a bonfire. The inner circle is for new community member, and the outer circle is for returners. This is done at dusk. The bonfire is lit. The head of school lights a candle from the bonfire, and shares it with student leaders, who share the fire with everyone. Students give speeches about the CIRCLE values and what they mean to them. Musical performance. The president of the student body invites the inner circle to join the outer one to form one big circle. At this point, there are no longer "new students". We then process out of the circle into an assembly. The Head addresses the group. We sign the Magnolia Song. The head then blows out his/her candle, after which everyone blows out their candle to symbolize the end of the ceremony.

Senior Sleepover

Seniors, whether they are day students or boarders, are invited to stay up all night inside the school the evening after Mountain Day and the Candlelight Ceremony. They take part in activities: movies, games, dancing, and they plan the assembly for the next morning (a presentation, and a senior gift). They also paint (and sign) a large mural that is displayed in the Student Center for the remainder of the school year, then photographed so a smaller version can be permanently displayed in the hallway by the dining hall.

Senior Skip Day

Traditionally the night after "senior sleepover" - once the students run their morning assembly and clean up after themselves, they are free to go home and miss classes.

Heart Week

On the week of Valentine’s Day students are given a "heart week person" - they give a gift every day, and include clues that help the person figure out who they are. On Friday, their heart week person is revealed.

Senior Gift

The seniors take up a collection and make a gift to the school at the end of the school year. Gifts in the past have been picnic tables, chairs, a glider rocker, and art work.

Magnolia Day

The Wednesday before Commencement, we have a relaxed day of fun! Non-academic awards (called "service awards") include Mock Trial, Quiz team, STARS (our student representatives for tours), yearbook, Magnet (newspaper), Muse (literary magazine) recognition. We rent "bouncy castles" etc. and have outdoor games.

Eighth Grade Rite of Passage

The Thursday before Commencement, academic awards and honors are presented to eighth graders. There is a showcase of eighth grade art, and musical performances by the middle school band and choir.


Presentation of senior academic awards and diplomas. Takes place on the first Saturday in June.