The Pike School Traditions Guide


All-School Family BBQ

On the first Friday of the school year, all Pike families are invited to celebrate the beginning of the year at our on campus barbecue. It is a great time to reconnect with friends and meet new members of the community.

Annual Art Show

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Our Annual Art Show is held in May each year. Our Art Show displays the creativity and expressive achievements of our students. This campus-wide exhibit showcases the visual artwork of our student body. Each student has at least two pieces of their art work displayed in the show.

Annual Fund Kick-Off Event

In October, all Pike families and Annual Fund supporters are invited to kick-off the fundraising year and to celebrate the tremendous support Pike receives from our generous donors. It's an event to inspire and inform our community of the endless possibilities their gifts provide for our students and faculty 

Birthday Book Program

Through this program, students may select a book of their choice to be given to the Pike Library in honor of their birthday. A book plate with their name and birth date is place in the front of the book. Children often choose a favorite topic or author when making their selection.

Book Fair

This school-wide three day event in November celebrates literacy. A wide selection of new books are available for purchase. A highlight of the fair is a special author visit and book signing. The Book Fair is run by parent volunteers and led by the Parents Association.

Buddy Program

This school-wide program provides a chance for the entire student and faculty community to come together several times a year. Buddies work on curricular projects, community service initiatives, and just have fun together. These experiences develop leadership skills in our older students and allows all to demonstrate our motto, "Non sibi solum," which means not for oneself alone.

Dress Down Days

The first Friday of every month is All-School Dress Down Day. This is an opportunity for students and teachers to show their school spirit. Some Dress Down Days are used to raise awareness for a local charity or a theme.

Faculty Skit for Students

On the last day of classes before winter break, the faculty treat students to a skit at Pike.

Library Visitors

Throughout the school year, the library sponsors a visiting authors series, which features assembly presentations and grade-level workshops. Funds for these author visits come from the proceeds of our Annual Book Fair. 

Parent Association Halloween Social

In October, the Parent Association hosts an on-campus annual Halloween Social with activities for all grades. The theme and activities vary from year-to-year. The entire community is encouraged to join the festivities.

Pike Fest

Pike Fest gives students the opportunity to engage with globally focused arts and cultural activities. Teachers/staff/families can use this opportunity to share their culture, heritage, and/or personal passion in a format that is innovative and engaging for students. Our third annual Pike Fest will take place on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

Learn more about this day and how you can get involved.

Pike Spirit Weeks

Students, faculty, and staff members are encouraged to wear Pike colors and celebrate our community's great spirit during these weeks.

Read Across America

Along with the Pike community, Lower School students participate in celebrating National Read Aloud Day during the LS Assembly. First grade students present a rhythmic choral reading of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and share their own versions of There's a Wocket in My Pocket. Second grade students perform a Dr. Seuss rap and an exuberant rendition of Green Eggs and Ham. The Pre-K students attend the assembly wearing Cat in the Hat headpieces of their own creation. Finally, a special Dr. Seuss birthday cake is served!

Reading Without Walls

Each April, the Pike community participates in Reading Without Walls, a nationwide challenge to explore new topics or formats and to read about characters who look or live differently. Faculty and staff from all divisions volunteer to read to students. 

Secondary School Fair

In September, Pike hosts over 70 secondary school admission officers from New England. Upper School students and their families are invited and this event is also open to the public.

Swing into Spring Event

During the month of May, the Advancement Office and the Advancement Committee host an annual event with three opportunities to participate and support Pike. The day begins with a tennis tournament and leads into an afternoon golf tournament. The final portion of the event includes a cocktail social and an auction.

Visiting Day

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, Pike invites all families, friends, alumni, and special guests to explore our community. Guests are welcomed to visit the classrooms with their students and learn about life at Pike. The Lower School students perform their first concert of the year. Pike graduates return to reunite with friends and teachers. Recent alumni also participate in a panel to share their perspectives about transitioning to high school.

Lower School

Authors' Picnic (Grade 2)

In June, the second graders culminate in a family picnic to share their pieces of finished writing that they've created throughout the year. Students share their writing portfolios, reading key pieces from various journals such as the Mayflower, science observation, and poetry journals.

Authors' Tea (Grade 1)

In March, as a part of the first grade writing program, students craft an autobiography. In these autobiographies, they include important information that they know or they have researched about themselves. They share their work with friends and family during the Authors' Tea. Students (with a little help from their teachers) prepare all the food.

Coming to America/Cultural Heritage Celebration (Grade 2)

Throughout the Coming to America unit, second grade students broaden their perspectives of the world around them. They begin by learning about the first settlers in our country, including how they got here, why they came and what they brought with them. After studying waves of immigration up until the 20th century, students investigate their own cultural heritage and share this information with their classmates. Each story about immigration provides another opportunity to expand students' understanding and global perspective. The study culminates in Cultural Heritage Celebration Day, in which all children bring a member of their family to school to help share a special tradition.

Coming to America/Ellis Island Re-enactment (Grade 2)

Each year in their study of immigration to America, second graders re-enact the experience of being processed through Ellis Island in New York. Groups of students represent family members from different countries of origin. Pike teachers and staff members act as immigration officials. It is all taken very seriously and becomes a memorable learning experience. Mr. Waters plays the Chief Immigration Officer, deciding the fate of each second grade "family." 

Community Read Along

Each year, a diverse group of Andover residents (librarians, police, scientists, etc.) share their love of reading with Lower School students by reading in homerooms.

Community Helpers (Pre-K)

During their unit focused on Community Helpers, the Pre-K students visit several important organizations in our local community, e.g., the safety center/fire station, bakery and grocery store. Some years local community helpers (like the mobile vet) visit the Pre-K classroom to talk about their jobs. In addition, we like to incorporate parents into our everyday school life. This can be as easy as joining in for a field trip or coming to class to talk about family traditions or hobbies.

Family Tradition/Cultural Sharing (Kindergarten)

To build community and awareness of the rich cultural heritage within our school, kindergarten families are invited to share their special traditions, celebrations, or cultural heritage. Family members read stories or folktales, lead the grade in a simple craft project, share artifacts, or talk about their family's traditions.

I Read to Mr. Waters (Grade 1)

In June, first grade students read his or her story to Mr. Waters in his office. Filled with pride after completing their reading assignment, each child signs a poster that states the accomplishment and receives a t-shirt with the "I Read to Mr. Waters" logo.

Japanese Children's Day (Grade 1)

First grade students study the country of Japan and learn about its location, geography, culture, and traditions. Students learn how to greet each other in Japanese, work with a master origamist to learn the art of origami, visit the Japanese House at the Children's Museum in Boston and have a formal tea ceremony at school, learn how to make sushi by a visiting sushi chef, and write their own haiku. On Japanese Children's Day students share their poetry and paintings, Japanese songs, and even put on a taiko drumming performance for their families.

Learning about Families (Pre-K)

Learning about and sharing the many different and wonderful aspects of our varied family groups is a key part of the Pre-K year. Early in the year, students create beautiful books depicting who is a part of their family and describing activities and events that are important to them. 

Lower School Concerts

During the months of November and May, Lower School students perform for parents, faculty, and staff. Students who study instruments outside of Pike are encourage to accompany various songs. A recent concert theme was "Family Favorites." In order to select songs for the concert, students interviewed family members. Song selections are from a diverse range of languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Japanese.

Someday Sundae Party (Kindergarten)

Pike kindergarteners share their hopes and dreams about what they want to be "some day" and then enjoy lunch and an ice cream sundae with their adult guests.

Study of Bears (Kindergarten)

As part of their study of bears, a multidisciplinary unit in which they learn about the physical features, habitats, and behaviors of several types of bears throughout the world, kindergarteners have a day when each student brings to school his or her favorite teddy bear. The children play games that make use of their knowledge of the bears they have studied. They also tell their class about their special bear, an activity shared with teachers and Mr. Waters. Each child also suggests a special feature about his or her bear (Best Dressed Bear, Pinkest Bear, Biggest Bear, etc.) and receives a custom-made award for the bear, which recognizes that superlative characteristic.

Study of Owls (Grade 1)

First grade science includes a study of plants, seeds, and owls. Marcia and Mark Wilson run EYES ON OWLS as an educational enterprise that brings owls to schools to teach students about our wild neighbors and their habitats. They have been visiting Pike first graders each year sine 1996. After a slide presentation of extraordinary owl photographs by Mark, Marcia and Mark introduce seven of their live companions to groups of first graders: two screech owls, a barred owl, a barn owl, a great horned owl, a snowy owl, and an Eurasian eagle owl. 

Middle School

Biography Fair (Grade 3)

After having read a biography of his/her choosing, each third grader transforms into his/her character for the Biography Fair. During the fair, students read their journal entries in front of third grade families in the theater. Later, students showcase their knowledge as they are touched and brought to life in the Biography "Wax Museum."

Bradford Ski Program

On six Wednesdays in January and February, students head to the slopes for an afternoon of fun skiing or snowboarding. All levels are encouraged: some students are new to skiing, while others have been skiing for many years. Family members serve as monitors in the lodge and on the hill.

Field Day

A community event held at the end of the year, Field Day involves a light-hearted competition among homerooms in a variety of games and field events. Students create homeroom t-shirts and support each other throughout the friendly competitions.

Fish Festival (Grade 3)

After learning all there is to know about fish and their environment, third graders participate in raising and releasing trout or salmon (depending on the year). Students culminate their study in a fun event where they share the knowledge and skills developed during this unit with their classmates and family.

Greek Myth Skits (Grade 4)

Students read and adapt their favorite Greek Myths to create their own skits. The skits are performed before parents and special friends. The "lead" is shared by many students.

Merrowvista (Grade 5)

Each October, fifth graders load their bulging suitcases and duffel bags onto the bus and take a two-hour bus ride for their three-day stay at Camp Merrowvista in Center Tuftonboro, NH. Their stay in the woods is spent learning about teamwork, the environment, leadership, and themselves.

Middle School Clubs

Each term, students choose from a wide range of interesting clubs offered by Pike faculty. Students participate in this club during school hours.

Middle School Concerts

Middle School students perform in two concerts each year - one in the winter and one in the spring. Students showcase the range of skills that they have developed in music class.

Movie Premiere (Grade 5)

Fifth grade students reflect on their fifth grade experience and learn the basics of creative movie making. Movies are showcased at a red carpet event for which students dress up like movie stars. A reception is held afterwards in the students' honor.

Upper School

Adventure Trip (Grade 9)

In September, the ninth grade students participate in a multi-day adventure led by the ninth grade team leader and other faculty in Maine. Students explore their connections with each other, their awareness of the environment around them, and their ownership of their experience.

Drama Production (Grades 8 & 9)

In the fall of eighth grade, theater class consists of collaborative play-making projects. During this process, students participate as playwrights, director, and actors. They also participate in at least one technical role, such as lighting, sound, set or poster design, costumes, props, set building, assistant stage manager, backstage crew, and crew leader. Many of these positions require students to take on a leadership role. Through this project, students experience all aspects of play making and production from start to finish.

In ninth grade, students continue to build on the skills they learned in eighth grade. Ninth graders act as directors and designers for a play that has already been written and is chosen by them.

Ecology School in Maine (Grade 7)

In October, the seventh graders spend two nights and three days at The Ecology School in Saco, Maine. The students will work in both advised and mixed groups to examine the salt marsh and and forests nearby. This experience includes lessons that dovetail with and supplement Pike's various curricula. 

Field Day

A community event held at the end of the year, Field Day involves a light-hearted competition among homerooms in a variety of games and field events. Students create homeroom t-shirts and support each other throughout the friendly competitions.

Lazarus House Food Drive (Grade 7)

The seventh grade spends the month of November coordinating a school-wide food drive, culminating with a collection of turkeys for Lazarus House, a social services agency in the Merrimack Valley.

Northeast Passage Sled Hockey Game and Fundraiser (Grade 9)

In November, ninth graders coordinate an annual Sled Hockey Game at Phillips Academy's Harrison Rink as part of their unit on disability in their "Foundations in Justice" course. Proceeds from the game will benefit Northeast Passage, a nonprofit organization that offers a wide range of services through adaptive sports and recreation for individuals with disabilities. In the last two years, Pike has raised more than $5,500 for the organization toward the purchase of new sleds. All of the community is invited to attend.

NYC Trip (Grade 9)

Ninth grade students participate in four days to New York City during the month of January. They explore the rich diversity of cultures, art, history, and performance art available in this urban center. From visiting world-class museums, eating in various ethnic neighborhoods, and attending theater and musical performances, students are able to share new experiences and continue to develop their appreciation for art and diversity. 

Washington, D.C. Trip (Grade 8)

In April, with various staff and faculty, the eighth grade students spend a week in Washington, D.C. They explore all aspects of the history and culture of the city and our nation. Their trip includes visits to memorials, Arlington Cemetery, and Mount Vernon. In addition to sightseeing, students take in a baseball game and attend a performance at Lincoln Center.