Cardigan Mountain School A boarding and day school for boys in grades 6 through 9

Cardigan Traditions

The Cardigan Archives has a rich collection of media from the School’s past.

As part of Cardigan's 75th Anniversary celebrations, we will be sharing digitized items from our collection throughout 2020-21. Over time, we will be adding images to this page to reflect some of the traditions that make life at the School special. If this content brings a part of your own Cardigan experience to mind, we hope you will share a reflection with us.

Cardigan Traditions at a Glance

A 1948 photo of Cardigan boys at the summit of Mt. Cardigan
Respect the Climb

Cardigan's longest-held tradition is to embrace the natural beauty found all around the School. When this picture was taken (circa 1948), school groups tried to summit nearby Mt. Cardigan at least once every two weeks, all year round. Today, all boys bookend their Cardigan experience with a Dawn and Sunset Climb of our namesake mountain.

Cardigan boys enjoying lunch at a picnic table with Headmaster Roland Burbank
Mountain Day

Boys eagerly take in some refreshment after Cardigan's first annual "Mountain Day" in 1958, sharing a picnic table with headmaster Roland Burbank (at right).

Contestants in the 1972 Cardigan spelling bee
Spelling Bee

In the 1950s, spelling bee finals were held during Parents Weekend, and winners got to see a movie in town. Later winners received a plaque, and competed in the Hinman auditorium (shown here in 1972). Today the tradition is maintained each year in Humann Theatre.

Four Cardigan boys on a ride at the Sandwich Fair
Sandwich Fair

Whenever possible, Cardigan boys like these students in 1950 enjoyed trips to the Sandwich Fair. However, it was headmaster Norm Wakely who made the outing an annual Founder's Day tradition (it was to celebrate a clean sweep during Eaglebrook Day in 1973-74!).

A 1964 photo of a pole vault during the Green & White Day
Green & White

1959 ushered in a new era of intramural competition between the Green and White teams. Points are still won through a mix of athletic, academic, and sometimes downright silly competitions (shown here is a pole vaulter competing in 1964's Green & White Day).

This 1965 photo shows Cardigan boys building snow scultures
Winter at Cardigan

Using the natural resources available, generations of Cardigan boys have created snow sculptures for fun and glory. Here, boys struggle against the elements to shape their 1965 creation in time for judging on Parents' Weekend.

A 1981 photo of Cardigan boys participating in the annual lake run
Lake Run

As early as 1951, all the boys in the school would run around Canaan Street Lake (a distance of just under five miles) to test their own abilities. The tradition was resurrected around 1979, two years before this picture was taken, and remains an annual Cardigan tradition.

Eight Cardigan graduates show off their alumni ties
Alumni Tie

Even before classes and dormitories had moved from Canaan Street to The Point, boys were wearing the familiar striped ties for Commencement (excepting a brief period when the supply chain was interrupted). Today, receiving the tie is a rite of passage for all graduates -- and also for a select group of honorary alumni.

Snow Sculptures

1965 Snow Sculpture: Bugs Bunny

1965 Snow Sculpture: Bugs Bunny

1965 Snow Sculpture: Frog at the Gas Pump

1965 Snow Sculpture: Frog at the Gas Pump

1966 Snow Sculpture: Snoopy

1966 Snow Sculpture: Snoopy

1966 Snow Sculpture: Bullmoose

1966 Snow Sculpture: Bullmoose

1969 Snow Sculpture: Igloo

1969 Snow Sculpture: Igloo

1970 Snow Sculpture: Windmill

1970 Snow Sculpture: Windmill

1972 Snow Sculpture: Snoopy

1972 Snow Sculpture: Snoopy

1975 Snow Sculpture: Buddha

1975 Snow Sculpture: Buddha

1976 Snow Sculpture: Tank

1976 Snow Sculpture: Tank

1977 Snow Sculpture: Polar Bear

1977 Snow Sculpture: Polar Bear

1977 Snow Sculpture: Polar Bear

1977 Snow Sculpture: Polar Bear

1987 Snow Sculpture: Cat

1987 Snow Sculpture: Cat

1988 Snow Sculpture: Dinosaur

1988 Snow Sculpture: Dinosaur

1990 Snow Sculpture: Lobster

1990 Snow Sculpture: Lobster

1995 Snow Sculpture: Mouse & Cheese

1995 Snow Sculpture: Mouse & Cheese

1995 Snow Sculpture: Sea Serpent

1995 Snow Sculpture: Sea Serpent