Groton Traditions in the Past and Pandemic Present


Matching neon clothing, tug-of-war in a pool of mud, and board games at the headmaster’s house — traditions like ’80s Dance, Spring Fling, and Parlor were vital parts of student life before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

However, Groton had to temporarily put these exciting events on hold to prioritize safety on the Circle. The pandemic taught the Groton School community to be flexible when amending traditions. But given that all returning students, faculty, and staff are vaccinated, this upcoming school year is likely to welcome back fondly cherished pre-pandemic traditions. 

In a regular year, the fall term began with Dorm Storm, commonly known as Awkward Dance. Each dorm picked a theme to dress up in, which ranged from frat bros to beachy shirts. At the ’80s Dance, students would jam out to retro music in a sea of vibrant and bold silhouettes. 

Additionally, sit-down dinners were hosted in the dining hall weekly, which were opportunities for faculty and students to get to know each other over a meal. On each table, there were six randomly assigned students and one faculty member, with one of the students being the waiter for the night. 

Two sports traditions took place during the fall term. Following St. Mark’s day, when Groton’s sports teams played against rival St. Mark’s teams, students celebrated victories by pulling entire teams around in a large wooden carriage during Cart Pull. The subsequent Senior Toss marked the end of the fall term, an event where Sixth Formers on varsity teams got tossed into the air during a bonfire to celebrate their final season.

In the winter, students took part in the unique experience of Silent Disco, where they were given glowing headphones connected to three different DJ channels. The color of their headphone set changed depending on the station they were listening to. 

Spring Fling was the energetic finale to a year-long battle between dorms to win a trophy and photo on the SAC wall. Dorms sported matching shirts and fiercely competed against each other in various athletic activities such as dodgeball or tug-of-war. 

There were also traditions that occurred regularly, such as Parlor, Roll Call, and Surprise Holiday.