Treasured traditions are a cornerstone of Walker's history and the student experience on campus, handed down from generation to generation. Many were originated by Ethel Walker herself!
Participating in these traditions helps bind the community together and provides current students and alumnae with shared experiences. They offer opportunities to have fun, generate school spirit, and celebrate our Walker’s community.
Suns, Dials & Dogswood Day
A healthy yet keen competition exists between the two clubs, with point garnering activities, tallied at the end of the year. The winning club for the year sees their flag at the top of the Suns and Dials flagpole for an entire year.
Dogswood Day is a culmination of the entire year of Suns and Dials activity. The Head of School announces Dogswood Day the evening before; students are given the day off from classes and participate in a wide and exciting range of activities, ending with the Suns and Dials Tug of War.
Dressing as a Sun or a Dial, and doing so creatively, is key. The creative and crazy ensembles — including those worn by faculty — make any Suns and Dials activity colorful and exciting!
The School Symbol and Motto
The Suns and Dials get their names from the School symbol, the sundial. The sundial was adopted almost immediately upon the School’s opening following an incident in which a student at the first faculty/student dinner mistook a pepper grinder for a sundial.
The School’s motto, Nullas Horas Nisi Aureas, which translates “Nothing but golden hours,” also bears reference to the sun.
The Old Girl Show & The New Girl Show
The fall and winter feature two other long-standing traditions in the Upper School: the Old Girl Show and the New Girl Show. The Old Girls perform a talent show and The New Girls put on a similar show later on in the school year.
Each fall, the Head of School surprises students with the announcement that Mountain Day will occur the following day. The beauty of the New England autumn and the crisp, fresh air add excitement to the day as the entire student body, along with faculty, climb a challenging trail up nearby Talcott Mountain to the top, for a view that stretches hundreds of miles. Walker's is clearly visible in the Farmington Valley, but what is even more visible is the camaraderie among the community experiencing this glorious tradition.
The School celebrates holidays with banquets and community dinners, which all Upper School students and faculty are required to attend. At Thanksgiving time and during the winter holidays, we have Vespers, an evening non-denominational chapel service focusing on the holidays being observed. We also host the traditional Holiday Ride before the winter break, an equestrian exhibition that is a highlight of the season for the School and attracts visitors from outside the School community. It is a tradition each year for the riding team members to choose a senior rider to lead the parade as Santa Claus at the end of the Holiday Ride.
The grass in front of the Chapel on the east side is considered the Senior Lawn and is traditionally reserved for seniors only.