Centennial News & Stories

For 100 years, Concord Academy has cultivated the creativity to tackle challenges, the resilience to adapt to change, and the drive to make a difference in the world. Over the course of CA’s Centennial year, we will share stories that support CA’s mission and its longstanding values and traditions.

CA Traditions Over The Years

Chapel Talks

One of CA’s most beloved traditions, chapels give seniors the opportunity to share their stories with the campus community. In their current form, chapels often begin the school day with 15 minutes of anecdotes, reflections, songs, “senior advice,” and thanks to friends and family. As the steeple bell rings to usher everyone into the Chapel, a “hug line” forms down the left aisle and the senior stands on stage to hug community members. Upon entering the Chapel, students, faculty, and staff remain silent to give their undivided attention to the senior speaker.

May Day

Students would practice their dances for May Day beginning in December and would vote for a May Queen—a secret until the very day. Helen Smith Strong ’24 was Concord Academy’s first May Queen. She returned to celebrate CA’s 25th anniversary, when Mary Leigh Morse Houston ’47 was crowned as that year’s May Queen. The final May Day was held in 1961.

Saturday Picnics

These weekly outings for boarding students started in the earliest years of CA. Adventures included paddling on the Sudbury and Concord rivers, treks to Punkatasset Hill for swimming, skiing, or snowshoeing around Hutchins Pond, or excursions to Walden Pond. 

Red and Blue Day – Past

The yearlong intramural competition between the Reds and Blues, culminated with an afternoon of track and field events to determine the final winner of the coveted cup. Throughout the year, the two teams competed for points in field hockey, soccer, and baseball and spent the winter months practicing elaborate and secret synchronized marching routines. This tradition lapsed in the 1970s but was revived after 50 years.

Red and Blue Day – Present

On May 4, 2018, Concord Academy revived this once-beloved school tradition. Now students annually don red and blue and face off for friendly Field Day competition.

Senior Mug Signing

CA’s Chameleon takes a much-needed coffee break during Mug Day in 2015. For years, seniors have signed each other’s mugs as momentos.

Class Rings

In the 1930s and 1940s, each class designed its own CA ring. It’s unclear whether rings featured the chameleon throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, but the class of 1944 claims to have created the chameleon ring still in use today—a plain gold ring with a chameleon image etched in a recess of the rectangular top. Other classes admired the design and decided to make it official. Since at least the 1960s, students have worn the chameleon ring with the tail facing toward themselves until graduation, when they turn it to face the world.

If you look closely, you can see this student’s ring in the picture.

Chandler Bowl

This annual fall athletic challenge between Concord Academy and the Pingree School began in 1990 and is named in honor of John Chandler, a former Pingree head of school. Today the challenge includes a fundraising effort and is officially known as the Chandler Bowl for Changing Lives. Each year, the host school determines the organization that will benefit. In 2021, CA defeated Pingree in a day of tight competition, with funds going toward the Innocence Project.

Share Your Memories

We couldn’t celebrate our Centennial without your CA’s memories—past, present, and future. Throughout our Centennial celebrations, we will highlight CA’s history, illuminating our school’s values and the commitments that have shaped our community. Email us your stories at communications@concordacademy.org.