174th Opening of Tilton School
Sarah O'Neill

Over the past week, we welcomed over 240 students to the Hill for the 174th opening of Tilton School

New international students and pre-season athletes arrived last week, giving them time to acclimate to campus and get those three-a-day practices in. For many new Tilton Rams, this is the first time they will be living away from home. Meetings with dorm parents, advisors, and peers helped to ease the nerves. Returning students greeted each other with enthusiasm after a long summer away. They settled right in like they never left and welcomed new students as if they had been on the Hill all along.

Remaining Rams arrived Monday, September 2nd.

 Processional and Convocation 2019

A rainy day couldn’t stop the excitement of opening day! After registration and a meeting with parents, Head of School Peter Saliba P’17, '19, '19 led a processional to the first school meeting of the year. Parents lined the walkway leading to the chapel with smiles, cameras, and a few tears as students made their way to the chapel for the first of many times this year.

 Faculty and students found their seats and were greeted by Student Body President Madison “Maddy” Kirker ‘20, a four-year senior from Glen Allen,Virginia and Student Body Vice President Maxamillian “Max” Paganini ‘21, a junior from Sanbornton, New Hampshire. Maddy and Max welcomed students to campus and led the assembly in the school fight song. 

 Next, Dean of Student Chapel Love addressed RAMnation with some encouraging words to kick off the year.

After class and all school photos, students and faculty once again assembled in the chapel for Convocation, this time in formal wear. Ms. Love gave the invocation before handing the podium over to School President Maddy Kirker ‘20. Kirker greeted faculty and students once again.She spoke about her time at Tilton and how much it means to her to be student body president. She championed for community, and expressed how connected current students are to Tilton alumni of the near and not-so-near past. 

 “The recurring moments like sitting in this chapel, playing games on the quad, or hanging out in Knowles Lobby. The hair raising moments we experience during Powder Keg as our pride is on the line with this long standing rivalry; our competitive spirit heard through chants and cheers on the sidelines, with faint echoes of past students lingering in the background...These unforgettable memories are unique to each individual, but are constantly shared with us by alumni. These are some examples of the threads that connect us to all members of the Tilton community past, present, and future.” - Madison Kirker ‘20, Student Body President

This year’s convocation speaker was alumnus Harold Bailey Jr. ‘66. Bailey is the Executive Vice President of McLeod Associates, Inc., a graduate of Brown University (from where he holds a two bachelors degrees and an honorary PhD), and a member of the Tilton School Board of Trustees. In 2006, he received the George L. Plimpton Award for outstanding achievements and significant contributions to society. He came to Tilton School after getting a scholarship to a summer school at Phillips Exeter his 9th grade year. Afterwards, he decided to attend a different prep school every summer until he graduated. The next year after summer school at Tilton, the headmaster noted that he would like him to return for the fall session, but was lacking funds. With two weeks until school and no word on his  Bailey was sure there was no way he could attend that fall. That’s when he received a telegram that read: “We have a space for you.”

 Bailey talked about growing up in the segregated southern United States. He spoke of the "gets" and "gives" of life; those meaningful moments that have an everlasting positive impact on one's life ("gets") and those moments where one can have a positive impact ("gives"). He also spoke of the advancement in education happening at Tilton School, and went into a bit of detail with a presentation on the Mastery Approach. 

“Before Tilton I was blessed with a great many ‘gets’ from my church and teachers, but it was  a mantra from my parents, to learn as much as I could about as many different things as I could, that motivated my youth and much of the rest of my life,” Bailey said.  “Tilton changed my life. In fact that’s an understatement.” - Harold Bailey '66; Tilton School Board of Trustees

 Watch the 174th Convocation Ceremony on YouTube.

Orientation Programming

This year, we used the first week of school as a time to get to know our peers, spend time with classmates, and get oriented on campus. In addition to meetings and activities with grade level teams, the entire school gathered at Ellacoya State Park for fun in the sun and a beach BBQ. Nights were filled with dessert and activities in the MARC.


Up next: our Kick-Off Weekend beginning with an outdoor movie Saturday night, and going into a jam packed Sunday: the Color Me Tilton Color Run, ice cream from the Tracy Girl Food Truck, balloon toss, kickball tournament, lawn games, music, and fun.

Go Rams!


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