Moving Forward, Looking Back
Marlborough traditions evoke continuity and community amidst growing excitement for the future
The end of the school year brings many feelings as students simultaneously face the intensity of exams and the alluring prospects of summer vacation. It is a time of change, when celebration of the past year’s accomplishment mixes with contemplation of future endeavors. For seniors, this time can be especially meaningful. Marlborough School honors these changes and their attendant emotions with traditions that emphasize each girl’s place in a community that is both immediate and far-reaching across generations.
As 9th graders complete Middle School, the Pin Ceremony marks their passage into the Upper School. On May 15, 2011, the Head of School gave each member of the Class of 2014 a Marlborough School pin with the School’s crest in a ceremony that dates back to 1961, with roots in earlier School traditions.
Initiated in the mid-’80s, Portfolio Night celebrates the 10th Grade’s focus on the written word. Every year, students preserve their writings in a portfolio. During the 10th Grade, they select and hone five compositions, both expository and creative, with the help of faculty mentors, and combine them with a personal statement and a complimentary piece of their own visual art. Portfolio Night, which fell on May 25 for the Class of 2013, encourages reflection on the year’s personal and stylistic growth as students present these collections to the Marlborough community, often accompanied by skits and readings.
Marking the passage into their final school year, juniors in the Class of 2012 will receive School rings from seniors in a formal evening ceremony on May 27. The design of Marlborough’s School ring dates back to 1925, and the ceremony was initiated in 1933. Just as in the present-day Ring Ceremony, a large candle was lit to signify eternal sisterhood among all Marlborough alumnae. Today, Violets connected to members of the Junior Class—grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and aunts—participate in the lighting of the candle.
As it has been since Marlborough’s founding, this year’s commencement for the Class of 2011 on June 2 will be marked with white dresses, bouquets, and a procession, as well as the singing of the Alma Mater. Immediately after the ceremony, the newest Marlborough alumnae enjoy a first dance with their fathers or partners of choice at the Tea Dance, first held in 1945.