Sacred Heart and NCDS Traditions
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 138-year history.
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 excitement and laughter throughout the school halls. Recent Congés have featured roller skating, trivia contests, and carnival games.
Each December just before Christmas Break, the school community, including students and their families, faculty and alumnae, gather for Advent worship. A popular family tradition, Newton Country Day's separate Middle and Upper School Advent Vespers feature the school's chorus groups, Handbell Choir, Liturgical Dancers, and Instrumental Ensembles.
During Advent, students and faculty may 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-a-long, held the day before vacation, each Advent Angel presents a final gift and reveals him or herself to his or her Angel.
These competitive groups based on school colors were established when the school was founded in 1880. All members of the Newton Country Day 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. At the end of the year, the team with the greater number of points is awarded the traditional Blue-Silver Trophy.
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.