There are a number of time honored traditions which enhance our community life.
THE ANGELUS BELL
Every morning the school awakens to the sound of the bell ringing in St. Joseph’s Chapel. The rhythm of the ringing is called Angelus, and it is sounded by one of two students who fill the roles of Sacristan and Verger. Angelus also rings in the evening before dinner, as well as at the beginning of worship services. Make sure you stop and reflect on your day in silence, as this is a time for prayer and thanksgiving. There are times when you will hear a sporadic ringing late in the evening. It is the way generations of Christ School athletic teams have signaled victories and their safe arrival home.
Grade levels (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th) are referred to at Christ School as Forms. The word comes from the old English boarding school model after which American boarding schools fashioned themselves in the early 19th century. The easiest way to remember is to subtract six from whatever grade you are in – that is your current “Form.” If you are in the 8th grade, you would be in the Second Form; in the 9th grade, the Third Form; in the 10th grade, the Fourth Form; and so on.
“Tapping” is an annual ceremony of appointing senior leaders (Prefects and Proctors) for the following year. It is held in the Chapel and occurs late in the spring. The entire student body is present, dressed in tie and coat, to witness this time honored Christ School tradition.
The large grassy area between the Dining Hall and Wetmore (Main School building) is sacred ground known as “Yard A.” Yard A is the site of the original school building and considered sacred ground by all. One of the traditions at Christ School is that no one walks on Yard A. Exceptions are made for those who raise and lower the flags, those assigned to Yard A for job period or afternoon mowing, and anyone participating in graduation ceremonies.
On occasion during the school year the Headmaster will surprise the students and faculty with a “Headmaster’s Holiday.” Classes are cancelled for the day and are supplemented with activities and leisure time for the entire school community. The “holiday” usually marks a reward or a special occasion which the entire community celebrates.
All seniors have special privileges. For example, only seniors are permitted to use the front door of Wetmore. Underclassmen must enter and exit via other doors. Only after Tapping, a ceremony at the end of the year when there is a changing of student leadership, can the rising senior class assume the responsibilities and privileges associated with seniors.
ASHEVILLE SCHOOL WEEK
Asheville School Week occurs late in October each year and features athletic events between Christ School and its respected rival, Asheville School. The week leading up the “big game” is full of anticipation. Understandably, no blue clothing is worn during the week. Banner making, skit night, and a pep rally highlighted by a bonfire are just some of the festivities which are enjoyed by students, faculty, and alumni. The week culminates with varsity soccer and football games on Saturday. The intense rivalry has been enjoyed by both schools since its inception in 1911.
One of the most common forms of consequence for students who violate a major school rule is “the stump.” Digging a stump is a Christ School tradition that has made many a boy stronger and more committed to his experience at Christ School. Armed only with a pick axe, felling axe, and shovel, the student spends much of his free time over 2-5 week period removing a stump from the ground. It is hard work, but work that brings about a more complete understanding of a boy’s past actions and eventually leads to a form of redemption that all boys need to fully realize their mistakes and to help them move forward with life.