Small Gestures Build Community Safely
Sarah O'Neill

Over the past month, Tilton School has welcomed over 200 students to the Hill with a staggered, highly cautious approach. This week marks the official beginning of our 2020-2021 academic year. It also represents over two weeks since our boarders from outside of New England arrived, meaning they have fulfilled a successful quarantine here on Tilton’s campus!

As is expected, opening days and orientation looked very different this year. Normally, we would be climbing mountains on an all-school hike and gathering for a beach bbq at Ellacoya Beach. We would squeeze into chapel pews for convocation and gather on the turf for orientation games. This year, we are adapting and finding new ways to connect. We’re making a thousand small gestures to build community safety.

Ram Nation has been finding solace outside, particularly on the residential quad. Lawn games, outdoor meals, movies, and sports game viewings, arts & crafts, to name a few of the favorite activities. Orientation this year was hybrid - virtual meetings mixed with a day of in-person, socially distanced fun. Virtual meetings went through policies and guidelines through the years, as well as academics, afternoon activities, and residential life.

View our Summary of Campus Plans for the year ahead >>

On the Saturday of orientation, we took advantage of our spacious campus on a beautiful day and competed in a series of dorm-on-dorm competitions. The day started with each dorm, accompanied by a group of day students, tie-dying shirts that proudly announced a hashtag followed by their residence. Then, students paired up (day students with day students and boarders with boarders) to sign up for a series of Double Dare style games. 

Various game stations were set up on the quad. For each game, two dorms squared off against the other for points. Whoever had the most points at the end won a pizza party for the whole dorm. For this day of competition, East Knowles 3 was declared the winner! Tilton Dorm Olympics will happen regularly throughout the year, with both in-person and virtual competitions. 

View a full gallery of opening days photos >>

Orientation was followed by fire pits, games, and hockey playoffs on the quad. Although this orientation was different from years past, it was wonderful to be together as a community, even if we were masked and distant. Adapting to this new environment, and acting responsibly as a community, is key to having a successful year. 

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