Two centuries of Sacred Heart education have yielded a number of cherished network-wide traditions. Newton Country Day School proudly continues these traditions as well as those that have evolved over its 120-year history.
The French word goûter refers to a mid-morning or afternoon snack that is provided on special occasions or celebrations. Students and faculty at Newton Country Day School look forward to goûters, which generally are planned by the Headmistress and kitchen staff as a surprise for all.
Congé, a French word meaning "holiday", is a surprise, in-school holiday during which the usual class schedule is suspended in favor of fun activities that help to build community. Planned by the Committee of Games, Congé is traditionally announced mid-morning by Seniors, sparking bursts of excitement and laughter throughout the school halls. Recent Congés have featured game shows and trivia contests, carnival games and activities.
Each December just before Christmas, the school community, including students and their families, faculty and alumnae, gather for Advent worship. A popular family tradition, Newton Country Day School's Vespers features the school's acclaimed Schola Cantorum, as well as the Middle School Chorus and Upper School Chorale, Handbell Choir, Liturgical Dancers, and Instrumental Ensembles.
During Advent, students and faculty participate in anonymous gift exchanges known as Advent Angels. During this holy period of anticipation, generosity of spirit is encouraged. Participants make and bake gifts for their Advent Angel in a celebratory atmosphere of secrecy and joy. At the traditional Christmas Sing (held the day before vacation), each Advent Angel presents a final gift and reveals herself to her Angel.
The Eucharistic Ministry program provides an opportunity for interested juniors and seniors to serve the school community by demonstrating their private devotion and faith in a public way. Students must apply to the program, through which they are trained in the offering of the Eucharist and come together periodically for discussions about faith and the meaning of this sacrament.
Blue and Silver Teams
These competitive groups based on school colors were established when the school was founded in 1880. All members of the Newton Country Day School community are inducted into either the Blue or Silver Team during the fall of their first year in the school. The purpose of these teams is to involve the entire school in different types of constructive competition.
Throughout the year the teams compete for points not only in athletic endeavors, but also in various areas of school life, including school spirit, and participation and attendance at school events, etc. At the end of the year, the team with the greater number of points is awarded the traditional Blue-Silver Trophy.
Each fall students, alumnae, faculty and families gather to celebrate Newton Country Day School’s Homecoming. Fans support the 13 Middle and Upper School teams as they play teams from rival schools on the Upper and Lower Fields. The Sunken Garden and terrace are filled with laughter and conversation as alumnae catch up with each other and children take part in carnival games such as face-painting, pony rides, and the moon walk. There is a cookout, and everyone enjoys good food and fun.
A time-honored tradition, Prize Day ritually marks the end of the school year. Held in the Chapel, the formal Prize Day ceremonies (the Middle and Upper Schools convene separately) celebrate students’ accomplishments in the previous semester. Students who earn honors grades receive silver or gold distinction and certificates distributed by the Headmistress. The Headmistress and Head of each school also distribute certificates and awards received for exemplary performance on regional and national exams (such as those for foreign languages, maths and the sciences). In addition to academic honors, each Prize Day affirms the Goals of Sacred Heart Schools by conferring five Goal Awards to a student in each class. Students nominate their peers, describing the ways in which their classmates have fulfilled the criteria set out by the individual goals.
Held in the Spring of each year, Ring Ceremony is one of the most anticipated events in a girl’s career at NCDS. The class ring marks a student’s transition from junior to senior year.
At the Ring Ceremony, each Senior is inducted into the Sacred Heart Alumnae Association. This active international association includes Sacred Heart alumnae from schools in forty-one countries. Alumnae learn that, wherever they go in the world, they can find alumnae sisters who share an educational heritage founded on the five goals.