The Hill School

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This article is about the boarding school in Pennsylvania. For the private school in Middleburg, Virginia, see the Hill School (Virginia).
The Hill School
The Hill School Family Boarding School logo.png
Whatsoever things are true.
Pottstown, PA
United States
Type Independent, College-prep, Day & Boarding
Religious affiliation(s) Nonsectarian
Established 1851
Headmaster Zachary G. Lehman
Faculty 72[1]
Grades 9-12 (Post-graduate year offered)
Gender Coeducational as of class of 1999
Enrollment 502[1] 75% boarding; all students must board for one year
Average class size 14
Student to teacher ratio 7:1
Campus 200+ acres
Color(s) Confederate Gray, Union Blue
Athletics 29 Interscholastic
Athletics conference Mid-Atlantic Prep League
Mascot Ram
Rival The Lawrenceville School
Endowment $155 million (as of July 2015)
Affiliations Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, TSAO

The Hill School is a preparatory boarding school for boys and girls located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The Hill is part of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization (TSAO).[2] As of July 2015, The Hill's endowment was approximately $155 million.[1]


Aerial View of the Quad

The Hill School was founded in 1851 by the Rev. Matthew Meigs as the Family Boarding School for Boys and Young Men.[3] The School opened on May 1, 1851, enrolling 25 boys for the first year. According to Paul Chancellor’s The History of The Hill School: 1851-1976, “He [Meigs] wanted to stress that he was not founding still another academy, but a type of school quite new and rare in America. There is a tendency to think that the boys’ boarding school as we know it existed as long as there have been private schools. It has not. Most of the 12 to 15 schools generally considered the “core” group were established in the last half of the nineteenth century. Of this whole group of schools, The Hill was the first to be founded as a "family boarding school" (a school where the students lived on campus), as opposed to boarding with families in the town.[4] Because of this, around 30 percent of today's Hill students have a legacy connection.[1]

School life[edit]

Each school year officially begins with Convocation, held in the Center For The Arts (CFTA). Students line up by form prior to the ceremony and proceed into the auditorium through two lines of faculty. Convocation includes remarks from the Honor Council President and Sixth Form President as well as the Headmaster. New faculty members are introduced to the students at the beginning of the ceremony. The Hilltones and Hilltrebles, the School’s vocal music groups, lead the School in singing the School songs.

The day before Commencement, all graduating boys receive a Hill School tie and girls receive a Hill School scarf at the Alumni Association Induction Brunch. Each school year officially ends with a formal ceremony: the Closing Ceremony, held in the Alumni Chapel. During the Closing Ceremony, departing faculty members are recognized by students, the Headmaster gives a final Chapel Talk for the year, and fifth formers move as a group into the Chapel seats traditionally occupied by sixth formers. Students and faculty gather on the Quad after the ceremony to say goodbye to each other for the summer. Most of the new graduates jump in The Dell, the on-campus pond, marking their graduation day. It is believed that the first year of this tradition was 1982.

The Hill maintains a formal academic dress code that requires boys to wear a coat and tie and conservative trousers and girls to wear a blazer and appropriate collared dress shirt with trousers or skirt or a conservative dress during the school day and for special events and activities. Casual academic dress and casual dress codes apply at other times.

During lunch on Monday through Friday and one night a week during the fall and spring terms, the entire school community gathers in the Dining Hall for a seated meal. Students sit together at long tables, with a faculty member at each head. The School holds special seated dinners prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Two required nondenominational Chapel services are held during the school week. Hill students and faculty serve as the speakers during these services. Voluntary worship services are offered each weekend during the school year.

Prefects at The Hill are fifth and sixth form students who assume formal leadership responsibilities in the dormitories, with tasks such as helping the dorm parents monitor evening study hall and organizing Family Night activities. Prefects also act as role models in the dormitory and are instrumental in helping new students adjust to boarding life.


The School's motto, "Whatsoever Things Are True" (Philippians 4:8) forms the basis for its Honor Code. Each fall, both students and faculty sign the Honor Code, which consists of three parts:

  • Our word is an expression of our character.
  • We respect the property of others as we respect our own.
  • Our academic work is an honest expression of our ability.


Academic Structure[edit]

Each grade at The Hill is known as a form, which is consistent with the English schooling term. Ninth grade is called third form, tenth grade is called fourth form, and so forth.

The School’s academic year is divided into trimesters. Within each trimester are two, six-week grading periods known as lists. All students take end-of-term examinations in the fall, and all under-form students take year-end examinations; graduating sixth form students in good academic standing do not have to take final exams.

All Hill students have an academic adviser, all of whom are Hill faculty members. Students meet with their advisers two times per week throughout the academic year. Each spring, advisers assist students with their course selection for the upcoming academic year and make sure students are meeting their graduation requirements. In the spring of their fifth form year, students also are paired with a college adviser who guides the student through the college application process. As nearly all Hill faculty reside in on-campus housing, extra help is readily available to students as needed.

The weekly schedule consists of two days per week having 70-minute block classes and the other four academic days having 45-minute classes. Classes are held six days a week, including most Saturday mornings. All Hill students are required to own an iPad. All boarding students are required to participate in study hall from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday.

Academic Offerings[edit]

The Hill School offers classes in each of its nine academic departments: Arts, Classics, English, History, Humanities, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Religious Studies and Philosophy, and Science. Classes are available at regular, honors, and advanced placement levels.

The Hill offers 28 Advanced Placement courses.[5] The School recently instituted a number of new courses including a team-taught AP Physics 1 with Pre-calculus Honors course; Arabic; and pilot STEM initiatives. Fifth form students may participate in the School Year Abroad (SYA) program, and sixth form students are offered independent study opportunities.

Engineering3,[6] a three-year, progressive engineering course, was launched in September 2015 as the initial offering in The Hill’s new Quadrivium Program. Engineering 1, focusing on problem solving and design from an engineering perspective, was first offered in the fall of 2015 under the oversight of Timothy Jump, creator of the program and Director of Quadrivium Engineering and Design.[7] The program will be fully in place in the fall of 2016. Through group work, application of the scientific method, and building with LEGO®, Engineering3 explores mechanical, electro-mechanical and control, and engineering design concepts.[8]

The Quadrivium Curriculum includes a robotics program. In 2014-2015, Hill’s robotics team competed in the Marine Advanced Technology Education International Robotics Competition in Newfoundland, Canada, by qualifying at the Pennsylvania Regional Underwater Robotics competition[9]


The Hill School has two official songs: “A Thousand Hands,” the school song, and “Dear Old Hill,” the school fight song. Written by W.R. Bowie, Hill Class of 1900, “A Thousand Hands” typically is sung during formal events, such as Convocation and Baccalaureate, while students mostly sing “Dear Old Hill” during The Hill vs. Lawrenceville Week leading up to the athletics contests against Hill’s primary rival, The Lawrenceville School.


Interscholastic sports at The Hill School date to the 1880s, when the School fielded competitive football, baseball, and track and field teams. The School’s teams are known as the Blues, with a ram serving as the official mascot.

The Hill is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL),[10] which the School joined in 1998. The MAPL also includes Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ); The Hun School of Princeton (Princeton, NJ); The Lawrenceville School (Lawrenceville, NJ); Mercersburg Academy (Mercersburg, Pa.); and The Peddie School (Hightstown, NJ). The Hill was a charter member of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA),[11] which became an officially sanctioned organization in 2011. All Pennsylvania Independent Schools are invited to join the PAISAA. In 2014, The Hill received associate membership in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC).

The Hill’s rivalry with Lawrenceville dates back to 1887 and is the fifth-oldest high school rivalry in the United States.[12] Originally an annual football game, the schools now compete against each other in all of the Fall sports on either the first or second weekend in November. In the week leading up to the games, The Hill holds a Lawrenceville Week that includes theme dress days; the “passing of the brooms” amongst fall varsity captains to signify the hoped-for “sweep” of Lawrenceville; students banging spoons on Dining Room tables prior to singing “Dear Old Hill” before seated lunches; the Red Meat Dinner, the only Friday seated dinner of the year and symbolically tied to the color red, Lawrenceville’s primary color; and a pep rally and bonfire. From 2004 through 2009, The Hill and Lawrenceville boys’ soccer teams concluded biannual seasons by forming a joint “Hillville” team that traveled to England for three matches against English boarding schools.

All third and fourth form students are required to participate in at least two seasons of interscholastic sports, and all fifth and sixth formers must play at least one interscholastic season. Students may fulfill a season requirement by serving as a student athletic trainer or team manager. The Hill offers the following interscholastic sports: fall - cross country, football, field hockey, golf (boys), soccer, tennis (girls), water polo; winter - basketball, ice hockey, indoor track, squash, swimming and diving, and wrestling; spring – baseball, golf (boys and girls), lacrosse, softball, tennis (boys) and track and field. The School recently added crew, equestrian, and fencing as club sports.


  • Girls’ soccer won the 2011 and 2012 PAISAA Championships.
  • Boys’ soccer won the 2013 and 2014 PAISAA Championships.[13] In 2013, the team was Top Drawer Soccer’s #1 ranked Prep team in the nation, and was the #2 ranked prep team in 2014. Colten Habecker ’14 was named 2013 Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year.
  • Boys’ basketball won the 2014 PAISAA Championship[14] and was Max Preps #2 ranked Prep team in the nation.
  • In 2014, four Hill wrestlers were National Prep All-Americans.

Notable alumni[edit]


  • Zachary G. Lehman, 2012-
  • David R. Dougherty, 1993–2012
  • Charles C. Watson, 1973–1993
  • Archibald R. Montgomery, 1968–1973
  • Edward (Ned) T. Hall, 1952–1968
  • James Wendell, 1928–1952
  • Boyd Edwards, 1922–1928
  • Dwight R. Meigs, 1914–1922
  • Alfred G. Rolfe, 1911–1914
  • John Meigs, 1876–1911
  • Matthew Meigs, 1851–1876

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kennedy, Joseph. "Hill School tradition? It's all in the family The Meigses, father and son, shepherded it from a boarding school for boys to one of the nation's top prep schools". Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  4. ^ The History of the Hill School:1851-1976, Paul Chancellor. The Hill School: Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 1976
  5. ^ "Advancement Placement Courses". The Hill School. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Engineering3". Engineering3. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Tim Jump". The Hill School. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Quadriviuim Curriculum". The Hill School. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Hill Robotic Team to compete in International Competition". The Hill School. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Seeley, Don. Hill School vs. Lawrenceville more than a rivalry. Pottstown Mercury (Pennsylvania). November 12, 2010. "The fifth-oldest rivalry in all of America is enough to kindle the Rams and the entire Hill School campus."
  13. ^ "Hill Boys' Soccer Captures PAISAA State". Retrieved November 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Hill Boys Win 2014 PAISSA Crown". Retrieved November 22, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°14′42″N 75°37′59″W / 40.2449°N 75.6331°W / 40.2449; -75.6331