The Hill School
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
|The Hill School|
Whatsoever things are true.
|Type||Private, Day & Boarding|
|Headmaster||Zachary G. Lehman|
|Faculty||73, 71% hold or are working toward advanced degrees|
|Average class size||13-15|
|Student to teacher ratio||7:1|
|Campus||300 acres (1.21 square km)|
|Color(s)||Confederate Gray, Union Blue|
The Hill School - Athletics
|Rival||The Lawrenceville School|
The Hill is part of an organization known as the Ten Schools Admissions Organization (TSAO). This organization was founded more than forty years ago on the basis of a number of common goals and traditions. Member schools include The Hill School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, The Lawrenceville School, The Taft School, The Hotchkiss School, St. Paul's School, Loomis Chaffee, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Phillips Academy Andover. The Hill is also accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Hill School was founded in 1851 by the Rev. Matthew Meigs as the Family Boarding School for Boys and Young Men. The School opened on May 1, 1851, enrolling 25 boys for the first year. The Family Boarding School was the first of its kind in America. 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." Upholding The Family Boarding School tradition are the approximately 34 percent of today's Hill students who have a legacy connection. Today's student body includes young women who were first admitted to The Hill in 1998.
Life at The Hill
The School's motto, "Whatsoever Things Are True" (Philippians 4:8) has always underlain the school's philosophy and forms the basis for its Honor Code. Each fall, both students and faculty sign the Honor Code, which consists of three tenets:
- 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.
Convocation: 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 in their own way and sharing one final bonding experience with their classmates. It is believed that the first year of this massive jump 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 family-style seated meal. Students sit together at long tables, with a faculty member at each head. When it is a student’s birthday, he or she stands on their chair while the rest of their table sings “Happy Birthday.” 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 play an important role in Hill residential life. 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 Hill School offers a variety of classes in each of its nine academic departments: Arts, Classical Languages, English, History, Humanities, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Religious Studies, and Science. Classes are available at regular, honors, and advanced placement levels.
The Hill offers 27 Advanced Placement courses. 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 and Engineering courses. Fifth form students may participate in the School Year Abroad (SYA) program, and sixth form students are offered independent study opportunities.
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 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.
In 2013, the School restructured the weekly schedule to be similar to a typical college schedule, with 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. Most boarding students also have a laptop that they keep in their dormitory room. All boarding students are required to participate in study hall from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday. As nearly all Hill faculty reside in on-campus housing, extra help is readily available to students during evening study hall.
Form System: 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 academic year is divided into trimesters lasting 10 weeks each. Classes are held six days a week, including Saturday morning.
The School is proud of its many traditions spanning several generations. Current Hill students honor the young men and women who came before them by maintaining School customs and building upon the past as original ideas evolve into time-honored traditions.
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), 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), 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. 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. 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 and was Max Preps #2 ranked Prep team in the nation.
- In 2014, four Hill wrestlers were National Prep All-Americans.
- 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
- James A. Michener, author and Pulitzer Prize-winner in 1947
- John Ashby Lester, American cricket player
- 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."
- The Hill School
- The Association of Boarding Schools profile
- Boarding School Review
- National Center for Education Statistics data for the Hill School