Traditions are an important part of the life of any school because they illustrate a school’s identity and values. Traditions help students, faculty, staff, and families feel a part of the community. At Canterbury, some traditions date from our founding in 1993; others are newer but no less meaningful.
Chapel Services: Students come together for chapel services at least twice a week. Special services – for which students wear more formal chapel dress -- include Founders’ Day, All Saints’ Day, Lessons and Carols, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter. At the end of the year, a chapel service is held in our outdoor chapel.
Chapel Buddies: The Chapel Buddy program began in 1993, Canterbury’s first year, when the 6th graders were located adjacent to the kindergarten classroom. To build a sense of community, each 6th grade student was paired with a kindergarten student for the initial purpose of providing an escort and companion for chapel services. The program has grown to include other shared activities. When 8th graders graduate, their chapel buddies (by then 2nd graders) sing a blessing to them during the graduation service.
Community Dinners: Several times a year, all students, families, and friends are invited to share a potluck dinner on campus. These evenings are a chance to get to know each other better by enjoying a meal and games and activities.
Eighth Grade: As the “seniors” on campus, 8th graders enjoy a number of traditions including painting the rock, two class trips, writing a letter to their future selves before graduation, choosing their graduation speaker and gift to the school, an end-of-year slide show celebrating their years at Canterbury, and an 8th-grade only chapel in May, among other things. All 8th graders write sermons to share their reflections and wisdom on a topic of their choosing, and most choose to preach it to the student body, faculty, and some parents - often more than 400 people!
Families: Each student is part of a Canterbury Family, a group of students led by an 8th grader with at least one student from each grade. Families meet regularly for special activities, to perform outreach projects, have lunch, or sit together in chapel.
First Day of School: On the opening day of school, the entire Canterbury community gathers in Phillips Chapel. Every new student and staff member is called by name to the front of the chapel and welcomed with a Canterbury T-shirt.
Founders Day: In early fall, Canterbury honors the people who founded the school with a special chapel service, which features a guest speaker and the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to someone who has contributed to the school’s success. Recipients are given a “medal” made by a 1st grade student.
Grandparents’ Day: Students in every grade enjoy having their grandparents or other special friends on campus for chapel and visits to classrooms. The 2nd grade holds Veggie Races, a part of a learning unit on healthy eating, when each child races a car made of vegetables and fruit.
Lower School Christmas Program: The holiday season would not be official without students in the lower school presenting a performance of holiday songs woven around a holiday message. This is one of the many ways students become comfortable with public speaking.
Martin Luther King Chapel: In January the 4th grade plans the MLK chapel service, which features a 4th grader reading the “I Have A Dream” speech and faculty and staff singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Send Offs: In their 10th year at Canterbury, employees are recognized with a surprise trip. The announcement is made in a humorous way at the end of a chapel service, when the recipient least expects it. The students enjoy the surprise as much as the recipient. Trips are specific to each person, and past trips have included a hot air balloon ride over Greensboro, Atlanta Braves spring training in Florida, and a visit to Lucille Ball’s hometown.
Stone Soup: In the story of Stone Soup, people in a town where food is scarce join efforts with neighbors to make a huge pot of soup that feeds them all. Canterbury students celebrate Thanksgiving early by bringing ingredients that they pour into a huge iron pot. Staff, parents, and older students spend the morning simmering, stirring, and seasoning the gigantic pot of soup. At lunch, all the students eat soup together. The rest of the soup is taken to a shelter to feed neighbors in need.
Students vs. Staff: A yearly pep rally and students vs. staff basketball game is a winter highlight. The end of the year is capped by a students vs. staff soccer game.
Spring Fling/Auction: Every other year, the Canterbury Parents’ Association hosts a Friday afternoon family friendly fair on campus, complete with games, food, inflatables, and fun prize booths. Spring Fling is both a fun- and fund-raiser. On the alternate years, an adults-only evening auction promises the same for the grown-ups.