Hawthorn Traditions

Starting Afresh, Starting Together: September Field Trips

Every new school year holds the promise and possibility of growing in learning, joy, and purpose. At Hawthorn, we invite all students to start their yearly journey in a positive, friend-filled way by offering two fun, inclusive, spirited field trips, tailored specifically for our Lower School and Upper School cohorts respectively. Lower School students and faculty take part in a one-day camp trip to Timber Creek Golf and Family Fun Centre in Stouffville, while Upper School students and faculty travel up to Olympia Sports Camp for two nights in Huntsville, in the heart of Muskoka. Our time together specially set aside at the outset of each new September provides students with an opportunity to refresh their hopes and dreams for these fleeting and formative years and to help create the bonds of friendship and community that will support and nourish them along their way.

Annual Fall Family Picnic and Pilgramage

In the spirit of the Catholic faith that animates Hawthorn School, all of our families are cordially invited to our first October event, the annual Family Picnic and Pilgrimage. We gather at the beautiful Marylake Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in King City. Starting with enjoying food and drink spread out on picnic blankets in this jewel of nature, we then join as one big family embarking on a journey of prayer along the Rosary Path, 1.5 kilometers in length and extending over twenty acres of rolling hills and old farm fields. What a beautiful way to start the month of the Rosary!

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
– St. John Paul II

In the Junior School, each family (PS, JK & SK) is assigned a mentor from among the Hawthorn staff at the beginning of the academic year. Meetings between Junior School parents and their mentors are also officially scheduled twice a year, as well as at the parents’ request or as necessary.

Father Fest

Fathers and daughters from every class at Hawthorn are invited to join in celebrating our annual All-School Father Fest during a morning in January. A long-standing tradition, and one of the best attended events of the year, Hawthorn dads are treated to a sit-down breakfast with their child(ren) as well as faculty and staff. While sharing a delicious meal, fathers have the opportunity to bond with their child(ren) and connect with other dads in our community. For dads who are unable to take part in the breakfast, students are welcome to invite another member of the same household to join (e.g. mom!). Inspiration and beauty are added to the morning by our musician students and choirs.
This is a beautfitul opportunity to honor the important roll of the father and to show gratitude for their love and support of their daughters as they learn and grow.

Mother-Daughter Evening

Every fall we host our annual Mother-Daughter Evening, gathering for reflection and conversation, strengthening our mother-daughter bonds, and sharing a delicious dinner together. We organize the evening for the Grades 6s to 12s about topics that are relevant to their age groups, while moms participate in roundtable discussions about parenting. The opportunity to share experiences and advice to support and strengthen child-parent relationships and reassure and encourage both students and moms provide a relaxed, open, honest forum for us to learn and grow.

Hawthorn’s Annual Grandparents’ Day Celebration

Every October, each student is encouraged to welcome their grandparents to our school atrium to enjoy tea and cookies as well as live performances. From across all grades, students proudly host and celebrate our grandparent community, greeting, ushering, serving, and entertaining them through refreshments, poetry and song, origami and photography, and classroom visits. We are reminded of Pope Francis’ words at his creation of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021:

“You are needed in order to help build, in fraternity and social friendship, the world of tomorrow: the world in which we, together with our children and grandchildren will live. A better future must be built on the pillars of dreams, memory and prayer, pillars that even the frailest among us can help erect with God’s help.”

And so, with an abundance of GRATITUDE for our grandparents who watch over us from near and far, we thank you!

Annual Advent & Christmas Celebration

Christmas at Hawthorn is a special all-school family celebration of Advent and Christmas. Following a traditional programme of Advent Lessons and Carols, students across all grades participate through readings, musicianship, and a nativity pageant, all followed by a happy sharing of refreshments and baked goods. This inspiring annual event is our heartfelt embrace of the holy season.

Christmas Luncheon

It has been a tradition here at Hawthorn to have our students, parents and staff get together for a Christmas luncheon before the Christmas break. We invite our entire school community to join us after the 11h45 Mass in the Atrium. We arrange “Big People Tables” set out just for families, while the Little siblings from the Lower School enjoy the company of their Big Sisters at their own tables. A delicious festive meal is prepared for us by The Kitchenstead, and everyone goes into the long-awaited Christmas holidays in joy and camaraderie.

Christmas Market

The Christmas Market is an all-school activity which showcases our students’ creativity and entrepreneurial spirit while raising funds for those in need. This is always a day full of excitement, and everyone joyfully prepares for the day with decorating, shopping, and wrapping gifts.

The Junior and Lower Schools sell merchandise that they create in class with a specific virtue as a theme, while the Upper School Houses prepare various activities for Big Sister Little Sibling fun. Parents and guests are invited to participate in the festivities.

Family Game Night and Get-Together

In the Hawthorn tradition of coming together as a community and having fun, our students and their families were invited to our annual Family Game Night and Get-Together on Saturday, February 4th. Our evening started at 4:30 pm with a celebration of Sunday Vigil Mass, and festively continued with pizza, games, and prizes, with House shirts or colours winning extra house points in the spirit of friendly competition. The laughter, cheer, and camaraderie of this convivial soirée will echo long after!