Traditions at WMA
Our school mascot is Titan. The choice has its roots in Classical mythology, in which the Titans were a family of six brothers and six sisters. Atlas - a Titan - is a major architectural feature on Rich Hall.
The definition of a Titan is also apt - “one who stands out for greatness in achievement.”
We are the Titans!
Atlas and Titans
Since the late 1920s, the bust of Atlas has commanded the façade of Rich Hall. Atlas was a male member of the gender-balanced family of Titans in Greek mythology, and sided with the Titans in their contest against the Olympians. When the Titans were defeated, Zeus ordered Atlas to bear the weight of the celestial world on his shoulders ... the way we expect our students to bear similar weight in the leadership of our world when they go forth from their time here.
Prometheus was also a Titan, and was described by Aeschylus as “Teacher in Every Art, (Who) Brought the Fire That Hath Proved to Mortals a Means to Mighty Ends." It is for these mythological, historic and metaphoric reasons that we proudly choose to call ourselves ... The Titans.
The Monson BellOnce housed in a bell tower at Monson Academy in Monson, Mass., the Monson Bell was moved to its current location after the move to Wilbraham. It sits in the Heritage Courtyard, outside Old Academy, which housed the entire Monson Academy when the move occurred.
When an athletic team wins a home game, they march up The Hill to ring the Monson Bell to celebrate victory.
It is customary for students to acquire many lapel pins during their tenure at the Academy. Pins are traditionally worn on the lapel(s) of the School Blazer. Pins are given to members of athletic teams at the end of each trimester. Other pins include the Trustee Cup, Global Scholars and a special academic pin earned by those who maintain honor roll status each trimester.
The Bunion Derby celebrates the end of the fall athletic season. The race began as a challenge between the football and soccer teams to prove which players were in the best physical shape. Now various teams challenge one another and groups run representing dormitories as well. Runners are encouraged to wear costumes, and the event is very colorful.
The course is 1.8 miles long, and the usual means of getting around the triangular course is to run. People have also been known to walk or to ride on horseback, skateboard, or bicycle around the course.
Students and faculty select a Bunion Derby Mayor who reads a proclamation to open the festivities and oversee the running of the race. Except for two years in the early 1970s, the road race has been held every year since 1944.
The Academy is proud of the fact that its chapter, established in 1923, is one of the oldest of the Cum Laude Society. This is the secondary school equivalent of the Phi Beta Kappa Society on the college level. Each year, the Academy chapter chooses new members from among those seniors (and occasionally exceptional juniors) who have achieved distinguished academic records. These students must also have demonstrated good character, honor, and integrity in all aspects of school life.
The dress code at WMA is part of a long and cherished history of preparing students for their future. We take great pride in how our students and faculty comport themselves, on and off campus, and consistently hear from visitors and members of the community how impressed and pleased they are that we are diligent in our efforts to maintain this vital part of education. The dress code is a representation of the Academy’s high standards and the serious academic environment we wish to nurture. The dress code also teaches valuable life lessons such as self- discipline and the importance of attention to detail.
Every member of the WMA community is required to own one navy school blazer, available through Lands End, with the Academy’s crest on the upper-left pocket. The school blazer is required attire every Thursday and for special occasions on and off campus. Students may wear their school blazer every day if they choose, or they may wear a non-school blazer on days when a school blazer is not required.
Upon matriculation, each new student passes though the LaBrecque Academic Gate and marches up The Hill to the Heritage Courtyard, where the Head of School waits to greet him/her. Students agree to adopt the Academy’s belief in broad intellectual development, good physical health, personal accountability, mutual respect, and commitment to service by signing the 100-year Matriculation book.
In May, during the Commencement Ceremony, seniors pass through the gate on their way to the Senior Wall, where they lay their senior stones. The stones are later cemented in place and serve as a permanent reminder of their time at the Academy.
In 1947 Charles Stevens, headmaster from 1935 to 1955 sought a way for graduates of the Academy to leave a piece of themselves for posterity. For many years students had engraved symbols into the foundation of Fisk Hall. Mr. Stevens’ idea resulted in the creation of the Alumni Wall, which is a series of walls in various parts of the campus.
The members of the graduating class design their stones to reflect their identities and interests. Originally students soaked the stones in the Rubicon and hand carved them. These days, most students have them carved professionally.
WMA has a tradition of taking the Senior Class out to lunch as they begin to countdown the final100 days before they are no longer WMA students! Students are given an opportunity to write themselves a note to put in the time capsule that they will open at their five-year reunion. During the luncheon, students also vote for their Class Agents, those who will assist the Alumni Office in maintaining contact information for members of the class.