School Traditions


There are two teams in the Middle School: Blue and Green. Princeton Academy Blue Green has its roots in the house system of the British school system, where boarding students are divided into mixed age groups. The house system helps students to develop a strong sense of community. Students are randomly placed in one of the two teams upon entry into Middle School. Students remain on the same team during Middle School and as alumni. Siblings are always placed on the same team. The purpose of this tradition is to develop a strong sense of loyalty to school, classmates, and self, all in a healthy, competitive environment. Teams are awarded points in a broad array of areas, including academics, athletics, service, and extracurricular clubs. The activities of the Blue and Green Teams support our mission to develop the spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of our young men. The Blue Green Cup is awarded at the beginning of each school year. The Blue Green Cup is displayed in the trophy case in the McPherson Athletic and Convocation Center (MACC).


As you walk the halls of Lower and Middle School, you can hear the word Congé over and over again... Students are asking when is Congé? Congé is a French word meaning "holiday." It is a surprise, in-school holiday during which the usual class schedule is suspended in favor of fun activities. Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat was heard to say, "As for vacations, I think we should have them."

Eighth Grade Sacred Heart Honors

Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart is guided by the five goals of Sacred Heart education. Princeton Academy honors these goals at Graduation each year by acknowledging five eighth grade students who embody the five goals. All Princeton Academy students honor the goals in some way in their daily interactions and over time as they progress and grow into young men. These acknowledgements are celebratory honors that aim to remind the students of the principles that have guided their education thus far and the principles that Princeton Academy hopes they will live by as they continue to grow. The Middle School Faculty decides the recipients of the honors. It should be understood that there are often many deserving students for these honors and that these honors are given in the spirit of celebrating the qualities for which they stand in all of our graduates.

Eighth Grade Tie Ceremony

We gather for the first Kettle Up of the school year on the first day of school to hold the 8th Grade Tie Ceremony where our One School community acknowledges our 8th graders by presenting them with their Princeton Academy tie. The tie is a symbol of their bond with Princeton Academy. They will wear the tie on school picture day, at their secondary school school interviews, and of course, graduation.


The practice of espacio takes place daily at Princeton Academy. Espacio is a time of silence, a time of thought and a time of prayer. As we begin this time we suggest for faculty and students to put themselves in a place of quiet reflection. It is a peaceful time that allows for deep contemplation as it gives students the opportunity to make meaningful connections in their lives.

Friday Thank Yous

Each Friday, Lower and Middle School assembles in their divisions to share heartfelt thank yous. Eighth grade students take turns leading the community in this very special Princeton Academy tradition. With pride, each eighth grade student asks the assembly to stop, reflect on the week, and raise their hands to share. The eighth grader calls upon students to share their gratitude. In Lower School, teachers call upon students who would like to express gratitude to their peers, teachers, parents or for a weekend activity they are looking forward to. On the last Friday of each month, the entire Princeton Academy community gathers in the McPherson Athletic and Convocation Center (MACC) for a special One School Friday Thank You.


Goûter is a longstanding tradition in Sacred Heart schools. According to the Network of the Sacred Heart, in days past, it was common for classes to meet until five o'clock in the afternoon. As students became hungry, it was necessary to provide the students with a mid-afternoon snack. Today, goûter, is a special treat that is shared during festive occasions and important celebrations.

Hawk Award

The Hawk Award is a special commendation that recognizes students for honoring the Sacred Heart Goals as well as the spirit of Princeton Academy in their daily life. Students, who participate fully in the life of the school, realize individual potential and enhance the life of the school community. These students commit themselves to their responsibilities in the classroom, in the hallways, in the lunchroom, and on the playing fields. They truly honor the Sacred Heart Goals, student principles, and community standards and go beyond in their responsibilities as gentlemen and scholars. Hawk Award commendations take place twice a month during the school year. Faculty and staff nominate qualified Middle School students. These students are honored at a Middle School Assembly.

Kettle Up

A kettle is a group of hawks in flight. Using their powerful wings, they spiral upward as they soar through the sky. Hawk kettling serves as a form of hawk communication, an alert message signaling the time to take flight. The hawks work together in their airborne community as they support each other in gaining altitude and conserving strength. When Princeton Academy Hawks gather as One School, we “Kettle Up!” All students, faculty, and staff gather together in the spirit of Sacred Heart Goal 4, the building of community as a Christian value. We kettle up for special times during the school year including our One School Friday Thank You each month. As One School, we are strong, we are purposeful and we soar with spirit.

Morning Handshake

Each morning students in Lower School are greeted with a Morning Handshake from Head of Lower School Paris McLean. Middle School students are greeted with a handshake from Headmaster Rik Dugan. This tradition sets the tone for the day and helps each student understand that they are valued and known.

Prize Day

Prize Day is a special day that honors our students in the spirit of the Sacred Heart. In the words of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, "The spirit is always speaking to us in our hearts." Princeton Academy honors the spirit of our students in living the five goals of the Sacred Heart. Each student receives a prize and certificate. Faculty put great thought in recognizing students for their character, accomplishments and service. The real prize of the day is the satisfaction of completing the school year, accomplishing goals and holding close valuable learned lessons as well as enduring friendships.

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