The overarching characteristics of Winchendon School’s illustrious and colorful past consist of three central themes: unique pedagogy focused on each student’s unique strengths, spectacular campus locales, and gifted, highly skilled teachers who gravitate to the greater educational rewards of truly “making a difference - one student at a time.”
The whole community gathers to celebrate the beginning of the year with a special dinner in Faculty Hall and an evening activity that usually connects to the theme of the year. For the 2019-2020 school year, the theme is Resilience, one of the eight core principles of the school. Past activities have included making Chinese Lanterns, lighting candles, and painting canvases to reflect one of the "Great Eight" attributes. Advisee groups come together to create goals for the year ahead and to get to know one another.
A tradition that dates back more than twenty years. The whole school, including the New York campus (faculty, students and staff), gathers at the dining hall and embarks to climb Mount Monadnock each year in early fall. The hike is a testament to perseverance, struggle, overcoming adversity, and helping each other reach the heights. It also helps students become oriented to our spectacular region: from the top of Monadnock on a clear day, we can see the many lakes of the Monadnock Region, distant skyscrapers in Boston, the peak of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, and the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont.
Senior Song at graduation
A tradition since 2013, the senior class sings “Together, We Are One” at Graduation and are joined by alumni attending the ceremony.
Steak and Lobster Dinner following Baccalaureate
A very special dinner for all Winchendon community members, and the last all-school dinner before the seniors depart.
The Baccalaureate ceremony at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, NH
An all-school celebration in a beautiful setting where we reflect on the year--and the last four years--with the graduating class, and give mostly underclass awards and recognition as we move from the past, to the present, and then to the future of the School.
A week at the beginning of February when students dress in spirit attire and fun costumes and compete in a variety of games--some silly and some very serious!--including Dorm Karaoke, Floor Hockey, Basketball Three-Point Competition, and many others. Faculty take part as well, and there is always a performing arts Coffee House and a Pep Rally. A special trophy is given at the end of the competition, when all the points are tallied and one dorm wins bragging rights.
"Minute to Win It"
Dorms and teams compete in high-energy games that test our teamwork and our ability to think on our feet, as well as our agility.
An impromptu performance venue that takes place every month (and sometimes more often) in the Student Center. Community members sing, play instruments, recite poetry, perform scenes and monologues, and cheer each other on.
Each year, the faculty members create a final performance for the seniors that is presented at Senior Dinner, the night before Commencement. The Senior Gift has been both live and a video, depending on the year, and it is usually supremely comic in nature with some serious notes where the faculty say goodbye in creative form to the graduating class.
Family Weekend Dinner theme and performances
The faculty and students perform for the assembled visiting parents at the Friday night dinner of Family Weekend. Some examples of the themed dinners: a German Night with faculty in lederhosen, and an Irish Night that included a local Irish band playing in the dining hall.
When weather permits, there is no more gorgeous setting than the lawn in front of Ford Hall and the front lobby of what was once an old country inn overlooking Mount Monadnock. As a bagpiper plays a march, the students process through the faculty members to their seats on the grass, where the families of the graduates and the faculty also sit. The Instrumental Ensemble and the Winch Singers play and sing at various times during the ceremony, including a breathtaking rendition of "America the Beautiful" with a student soloist. The student Co-Presidents welcome all the visitors with a short speech, the Valedictorian gives an address, and the special guest speaker--always an alumnus--addresses the newest Winchendon graduates. Graduating seniors and faculty members wear gowns, and the ceremony is marked by a sense of both gravity and joy.
Color Run on Family Weekend
The cross-country team leads the way in a short race across the golf course, and many students and faculty members join in the fun and end up covered in various shades of colored powder.