An inclusive, independent boarding high school
We have many traditions at RPS. These experiences mark the passing of time, offering opportunities to have fun and celebrate together, building excitement in anticipation of the events, and ultimately providing closure in personal and meaningful ways. The following is a list of many of our annual traditions:
The first weekend of the year students go on an overnight camping trip to local state parks. The trips are organized by dorm floor, allowing a wonderful time to bond and get to know each other in the fresh air, while having fun playing games and making food together. Oftentimes one of the dorm floors will attend the World’s Fair in Tunbridge, Vt - a cultural hoot to say the least.
In October, the students and staff put on a Halloween themed, costumed 5k race/fun run to build community and raise money for C.O.T.S., a local agency that supports people with housing and food insecurity.
Holidays are family time - Rock Point Family time! The night before November and December vacations we gather to acknowledge these special times of the year. We ring the community bell and gather our students, local parents, staff, staff families and friends, and local friends of Rock Point. Each celebration is a vessel to enjoy the holidays together by singing, lighting lights, sharing stories and readings.
“It’s that time again when we gather round, and with our love for you make a poetic sound …” HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, ROCK POINT SCHOOL! Each Valentine’s Day we write a Valentine Poem, naming every student individually in teasing and playful rhyming stanzas. Dressed in crazy red and pink attire, including wigs and accessories galore, a few staff members read the poem aloud to students and staff with theatrical aplomb and affection.
Each year our students learn about the science and process of maple sugaring, while they tap trees, collect sap, and boil sap in the sugar house. Student leaders teach younger school children what they have learned about maple sugaring by taking groups of kids on tours of the property and the sugar house, leading them through mini workshops on tree identification, tapping trees, collecting sap, evaporating the sap, and of course, the yummiest of all tasks, eating the final product on ice cream!
In April we host a Maple Celebration to recognize students’ efforts to learn about the sugaring process. During the Celebration we host a 5k fun run, serve lots of pancakes, waffles, and granola made from scratch. Visitors tour the sugar house and sugar bush. This celebration culminates the month-long experience during which students learn by doing and then by teaching.
After the last class of the year is finished, we head down to the field to celebrate with games, mud, and water! Students and staff play classic games like tug-of-war, leap-frog, and limbo, getting muddy in the process. When the games have concluded, we walk to the beach to jump in the lake!
We take an afternoon and honor our seniors with an all-school gathering we call Senior Circles. The students and staff gather into small groups and host each senior for about 15 minutes. During the circle every person speaks directly to the senior being appreciated. The speaker recalls a fun memory, tells a story, and/or shares admirable qualities that the senior possesses.
This is our epic school-wide three day camping extravaganza in Lake Elmore. Students and staff can relax at the campsite, hike on the trails, or participate in a wide range of activities like driving go-carts, swimming, going to a spa, or playing Frisbee golf.
On the last night of the trip, we have a Feast including steak, lobster, and veggie sushi. We line up all the picnic tables end to end, which provides an incredible visual of all the students, the dorm staff, and many of the day staff gathered elbow to elbow in a joyous, lighthearted meal.
On the same evening the Rock Ceremony follows the cleanup of The Feast. This special ceremony is an opportunity for each member of the community to speak from the heart to another individual. We ask students to acknowledge someone that might not be their best friend, but who they still appreciate. It's one of the most memorable events of the year and brings lots of tears, hugs, and laughter.
This happens the night before graduation. Teachers and staff acknowledge all the hard work our students have put into the year - from academic awards to sports awards to recognitions for personal growth. The night ends with a slide-show of photos from throughout the year.
A Quaker-style ceremony. Anyone who feels moved to speak, can share something with the graduates. This leads to a beautiful and moving morning that is truly unique to Rock Point. Without a doubt, this event is a wringer in the best way - we laugh, we cry, we recognize and take in the transformations that happened before our eyes. For many students and families our graduation is the capstone of years of hard work and growth that have brought them to a much better place in their lives.