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School Traditions

Pinecrest Academy Traditions

As a Catholic school that’s been educating children for over 26 years, traditions represent a critical piece of our school culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our students, families, faculty, and staff. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today, and who we are likely to become. Here are some of Pinecrest’s traditions, several that date back to our first year.

List of 27 items.

  • “Semper Altius” Arch at the Amphitheatre

    A gift from the class of 2007, the Pinecrest Arch is used as a “passageway” by the new Graduates immediately after graduation, marking their transition from Pinecrest Academy into adulthood. Graduates walk through the arch, with alumni waiting for them on the other side to congratulate them.
  • A Pinecrest Christmas

    This Christmas season event invites our families and friends to enjoy preparations for the birth of Christ through music and visual arts. The event showcases the artistic talents of our Lower, Middle, and High School students. The program begins with Christmas songs and hymns, followed by an art show and reception.
  • Advent by Candlelight

    This ladies event is designed to celebrate the Advent season and prepare hearts for Christmas. Held on campus annually during the Season of Advent, ladies host tables decorated with Christmas cheer, share desserts, and enjoy time together, all in a candlelit setting.
  • Angel Parade

    The Angel Parade is a favorite Pinecrest tradition, dating back to our first year, 1993! It commemorates the Feast of the Guardian Angels, and always brings smiles. Our PreK and Kindergarten children dress as a favorite angel and parade around the Lower School Courtyard to the sound of beautiful “angel-inspired” music.
  • Belardi Bell

    A gift from the class of 2011, the Belardi Bell, named after former High School Chaplain Father Todd Belardi, is rung after winning athletic events and at Graduation. It can be found in the grassy circle across from the Upper School Gym.
  • Catholic Schools Week

    National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. The event begins the last Sunday in January each year and runs all week. Pinecrest Academy observes the annual celebration with events that focus on the value that Catholic education provides to young people, and its contributions to our Church, our communities, and our nation.
  • Festival of the Arts & Piney Awards

    This popular spring fine arts awards show takes place each year in the Upper School Gym. The event features our Middle and High School Visual and Theatrical Arts students.
  • Field Days

    Since our founding, a special end-of-year celebration of games, sunshine, and fun is held called Field Day. Separate Field Days are held specifically for PreK students, Lower School students, and Middle School students. Students are divided into teams that represent the four countries of Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Ireland. These countries are the original locations of where the Legion of Christ had school systems.
  • Founders Day

    During this important annual event, alumni, families, faculty, staff, and the entire student body come together to celebrate the founding of the school, our founding families, and each other. An all school Mass is celebrated every year on this special occasion.
  • Gala

    The Gala is Pinecrest’s largest annual fundraising event of the year. Guests gather at a local special event facility and participate in silent and live auctions, raffles, and a special “fund the cause” initiative. Dinner, drinks, and music are part of the evening’s festivities.
  • Grandparents Day

    Grandparents Day is a day set aside each fall, during which we honor these very special people in our students’ lives. The day begins with an All School Mass and follows with refreshments,  classroom visits, and the opportunity for our families, comprised of several generations, to spend quality time together.
  • Integer Award

    Wholeness is what is meant by the word “Integer.” At Graduation, we recognize two students, one young man and one young lady, who exemplify complete formation according to their peers, teachers, and administrators. This award recognizes the two students who have consistently demonstrated exceptional characteristics of leadership and apostleship, assimilating the highest ideals of all four areas of Integral Formation – intellectual, human, spiritual and apostolic.
  • Kindergarten Circus

    A beloved tradition at Pinecrest Academy, this mini circus is a lively performance which has taken place each spring since 1993. Students are transformed into lions, tigers, clowns, dancers, gymnasts, and ringmasters, and then take the stage to perform live in front of parents, grandparents, siblings, students, faculty, and staff. Kindergartners have fun performing circus acts together, without realizing they are actually learning several important life skills.
  • March for Life and Tour of Washington, DC

    Each January, our juniors travel to Washington, DC, for the March for Life. This educational trip provides a front line and hands-on experience during which students also learn about historical landmarks in our Nation’s Capital. In addition to participating in a March for Life Rally and the March itself, students also tour the White House, Supreme Court, Washington Monument, 911 Memorial, MLK Jr Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Holocaust Museum, and many other landmarks during their visit.
  • May Crownings

    May is considered the month of Mary, our Blessed Mother. On the first Friday in May, an all school Mass is celebrated in Mary’s honor.  Following Mass, each school participates in a traditional Crowning of Mary, by crowning her statues at different sites on campus. Students are specially selected for the honor of crowning each school’s statue, and all students are encouraged to bring a flower to lay in front of the Blessed Mother. This activity is a beautiful moment when we pause to honor Our Lady with flowers and songs, to thank her for all her love, protection and graces.
  • Night of the Roasting Pigs

    According to the "Flying Pigs Society" (a.k.a., the men of Pinecrest Academy), the Pig Roast is an over age 21, “manly-man” event, for all Pinecrest dads, alumni, and friends. It kicks off with a Mass in Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. The pig roasting teams then meet at the football field parking lot for an evening of roasting, toasting, and boasting about manly-man, meat cooking abilities. Participants enjoy the company of other dads, while having beverages and playing games, like football or soccer.
  • Parent Appreciation Breakfast

    A special breakfast is held towards the end of the school year, celebrating and thanking all parent volunteers who have served in any way during that particular school year, giving special recognition to the PAPA Board. When a child is accepted to Pinecrest, the whole family becomes a part of our community, and our partnership with parents is key to fulfilling our mission.
  • Passing the Torch Ceremony

    Formerly the Junior Ring Ceremony, Passing the Torch is a beautiful ceremony whereby our seniors “pass the torch” on to the juniors, signifying their move into a leadership role on campus.
  • Pinecrest Athletics Hall of Fame

    Launched in 2017, this awards event recognizes and celebrates the history of Pinecrest Academy athletics. Inductees include some of the school’s finest athletes from the earliest days of Pinecrest Athletics, and recognizes those who were instrumental in getting Pinecrest’s athletics programs off the ground.
  • Powder Puff Football Games

    Each year, our high school girls compete in Powder Puff Football games, with high school boys cheering them on. This event builds school spirit, brings our high school families together, and allows for healthy and entertaining competition. Each class wears a uniquely designed t-shirt, which serves as a football jersey. After games are completed, a trophy is awarded to the champion. Halftime entertainment is provided by the boys, who show off some impressive choreography!
  • Pre-K Noah's Ark Performance

    Our PreK3 and PreK4 children perform "Noah's Ark" each year, to the delight of their parents, grandparents, and siblings. Students portray various colorful animals, sing songs, and recite lines, telling the story of Noah’s Ark. This performance teaches a variety of skills to our youngest Paladins, and serves as great preparation for Kindergarten Circus the following year.
  • Saints Parade

    The Saints Parade is another beloved tradition that has been around since our beginnings. First and second graders dress as their favorite saints and march around the Lower School Courtyard or Gym to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” This event happens each year on Halloween (All Hallow's Eve), to usher in All Saints Day on November 1.
  • Semper Altius Award

    This award is the most prestigious award a student in grades 3-11 can receive. The Semper Altius Award is granted to the students in each grade who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the ideals of the school by excelling in all areas of Integral Formation: spiritual, human, intellectual, and apostolic.
  • Senior Mission Trip

    A milestone for our seniors that began with the first graduating class of 2007, is the Senior Mission Trip, an opportunity to bring the years of Integral Formation full circle with a major apostolic event. Many who have participated consider this trip a “life changing event.” Locations have included Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, where students serve the poorest of the poor, construct churches, spend time with the disabled, play with village children, and deliver donated items.
  • Sword & Shield Benefactor Dinner

    Formerly the Cofounders Reception, this is an annual benefactor dinner hosted by the Development Department, serving as a thank you to all those who have made generous commitments to the school.
  • Trivia Night

    This fun-filled - and oftentimes hilarious - event is an annual Senior Mission Trip fundraiser, with trivia teams made up of parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends, all competing for a grand prize.
  • Valentine’s Day High School Tradition

    Since 2007 each year on Valentine’s Day, the high school boys gather behind the high school building and form a giant heart for the girls – most of whom watch from the windows! Then, the young men give a carnation to each young lady in the high school. This activity is seen as a wonderful example of old fashioned chivalry!
    • All students love Field Day!

      All students love Field Day!

    • PreK and Kinder students participate in the Angel Parade.

      PreK and Kinder students participate in the Angel Parade.

    • Showering appreciation upon our parents at the annual breakfast.

      Showering appreciation upon our parents at the annual breakfast.

    • New grads stand in front of the Belardi Bell.

      New grads stand in front of the Belardi Bell.

    • All graduates walk under the arches after receiving their diplomas.

      All graduates walk under the arches after receiving their diplomas.

    • Trivia Night is a fun way to raise money for the Senior Mission Trip.

      Trivia Night is a fun way to raise money for the Senior Mission Trip.