The old Choate school tradition of “Signing the Register” at the beginning of the school year has become the Matriculation Ceremony. Each student formally signs a statement pledging himself or herself to personal growth, integrity, self-discipline, and caring for others. The statement ends: “Fully aware, therefore of the import of what I am choosing today, I now take my place within this special and lasting fellowship; and with this signature I commit myself to the principles and values of Choate Rosemary Hall.”
Choate's athletic rivalry with Deerfield Academy goes back to 1922. Every year, the interstate athletic competition ends each school's fall season. At Choate, Deerfield Day events actually begin the previous day, with a Friday evening pep rally and bonfire. Then on Saturday, the various teams compete either in Wallingford or Deerfield, Massachusetts. Since 1947, Deerfield has hosted the games in odd years.
The Last Hurrah
In the decades when they were separate schools, both Choate and Rosemary Hall held annual formal dances in February. Choate’s was called Festivities; Rosemary’s was The Mid. The two traditions have merged into an end-of-year ball called the Last Hurrah. A highlight of each Last Hurrah is a dance competition, the culmination of weeks of informal Senior Dance Lessons, another school tradition.
At Rosemary Hall in Greenwich each year seniors designed their own garden, and invited two juniors and faculty to a simple supper held there. With the move to Wallingford, Garden Party has become a special dress pre-graduation event. Senior girls pass down Rosemary traditions to the junior girls. Flowers abound.
Lessons and Carols
Choate celebrates an annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. Based on the service held for years in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, the candlelight event always fills the Seymour St. John Chapel. Anthems by Choate choruses and other musical groups alternate with carols sung by the congregation to celebrate the yuletide season.
The annual Physics Phlotilla takes place in May at the Science Center pond. About 20 teams, consisting of 2-6 students each, participate. Each team of students is given two double-mattress cartons and two rolls of masking tape to design and build a boat to race across the pond. Student teams have fun naming their vessels and learning about the principles of buoyancy.
To our school upon the hillside come and sing a rousing song,
Till the echoes clear send back our cheer in accents loud and strong.
Then ever true to Gold and Blue shall be our loyal throng,
So we’ll hail our alma mater, ‘tis to her our hearts belong.
Cheer then for Choate! All hail her bright name!
Far thro’ the land we all shall bear her great fame, forever.
Down thro’ the ages renown’d shall she be.
Fairest in all the land, ever thy name shall stand,
Ever we all sing to thee!