Traditions are the foundation of a child’s upbringing. Defined as “a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting, a continuing pattern of culture, beliefs or practices” (, traditions are woven into what we value and find most meaningful.

At the Academy, we value our sense of community, culture, and established traditions. The students who are a part of the Academy community experience both new and long-standing traditions during the scope of their full educational journey with us.

One such example of beloved Academy tradition is our All-School Holiday Assembly.  At this event, the senior class performs its every-year-unique rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  As an Academy parent, I observed the value of this Academy tradition through a student’s eyes. Since 2nd grade, my daughter, Hannah ’12, watched and enjoyed the annual performance in anticipation of her class someday taking center stage. At long last came her senior year and — can you believe it?! – Hannah’s class nominated her to be Cindy Lou Who.  She and her class “lived” an Academy tradition.

Other long-established and valued events here include our Upper School talent show, canoe trip, movie nights, Middle School spirit nights, New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art day trip, States Fair, Authors’ Day, HATS Boo Parade, and the list goes on. But the “grand-daddy” of all traditions has to be our Holiday Concert. This performance is held each year at one of the most acclaimed venues in Harrisburg, The Forum, which provides the perfect back-drop for our students to participate in a memorable holiday celebration orchestrated by our talented Fine and Performing Arts Department. In helping the department with planning this event, I know that this year’s production will fall in the well-worn footsteps of past tradition.

The theme of the concert each year is peace and light, and we pride ourselves in featuring global holiday music performed by students from 1st grade all the way up to 12th grade.  Aside from our robust program planned for next Thursday, we relish the established tradition of our entire community singing “Let There Be Peace On Earth” to conclude the event.  This year, the Music Department has quite a treat in store for us — Michael Gamon, one of our music teachers, has personally arranged the song to included scripted music for all our ensembles, including Lower School Orchestra, Middle School Orchestra, Upper School Orchestra, Middle School Band, Upper School Band, Lower School Chorus, Middle School Chorus, and Upper School Chorus.  We can’t wait to hear this magical song made even more magical.

The concert should be quite a show and celebration of peace we often take for granted. For the Academy community, we hope that it will be another building block in continuing tradition and contributing to this fundamental part of your children’s upbringing.