Wayland’s more than 160 years of history have generated a number of rich traditions. These activities and events link generations of Wayland students and help them forge life-long friendships and memories.
On the Sunday evening before classes begin, students and faculty gather in Kimberly Chapel for an assembly to open the school year. The event concludes with students parading with national flags from the chapel to the balcony of Swan Library where the flags are posted to celebrate the international diversity on campus.
Students spend a day in September helping a variety of non-profit community groups across the region. Students may pick up litter, install landscaping, visit local elementary school classrooms, or sort items at a thrift shop as their contribution to the broader community.
Campus becomes festive as dress-up days and other fun activities take place during the week. On Friday evening a pep rally pits classes against one another in surprising and often hysterical challenges. Class skits cap off the evening of fun. Classes also compete in a rock painting contest. Boulders along Brown Field are decorated with themes reflecting the class personality. The Homecoming Dance on Saturday evening follows a formal dinner in Pickard Dining Hall. Homecoming Court is announced, and the couples promenade the courtyard before entering Lindsay Auditorium for the dance.
For more than 50 years, Wayland Academy has hosted a non-denominational service for the community to celebrate the Christmas holiday season. Student musicians and choral groups perform a variety of traditional numbers interspersed with readings in English and in students’ native languages.
Formerly known as Founders Day, Waylandtines coincides with Valentine’s Day and is an opportunity for students to express their appreciation for educational resources made possible through generous donations of alumni and friends of the Academy.
The transfer of the axe from the graduating class to the Juniors dates back to more than a century ago as documented in the book The Wayland Story. In current times, the juniors must solve a series of riddles and puzzles for clues to where the axe is hidden and find it before time runs out.
The graduating class collects funds to contribute to the school in a way that will favorably contribute to the campus and future students. Past gifts include the Victory Bell from the Class of 1963, the Class of 1989 Scholarship, and an outdoor stone table and bench set from the Class of 2017.
Before the commencement ceremony, the senior class gathers on the steps of Wayland Hall for a group photo. Led by faculty in their gowns and hoods, the class processes across campus from Kimberly Chapel to Lindsay Auditorium, pausing to raise the class flag. A ceremony rich in tradition marks the transition from student to alumni.