During lunch on Monday through Friday and one night a week during the fall and spring terms, the entire school community gathers in the Dining Room for a family-style seated meal. Sit-down meals maintain traditions at The Hill. Chapel talks, for example, may be inspired in the Dining Room. The Dining Room, where students eat with their teachers and peers, sometimes is a better (classroom) than the classrooms, dormitories, and athletics fields.
Hill students are required to attend nondenominational Chapel services twice a week. This is a time for the entire community to get together and reflect on others’ insights and life-affecting experiences. Any sixth form (senior) student may give a Chapel talk, and the School encourages all students to do so during their time at The Hill. One Chapel tradition is that sixth form students have designated seating in the front of the sanctuary. At a year-end Closing Ceremony in the Chapel service, fifth formers (juniors) “move up” to take the seats of the seniors who are graduating.
The Hill maintains a formal academic dress code that requires boys to wear a coat and tie and girls to wear a blazer and appropriate collared Oxford shirt. Academic Dress will be worn throughout the academic day whenever students are in an academic or public area, Chapel services, sit-down meals, required evening performances, or any other designated occasion. Students will wear academic dress beginning with breakfast through the final class whether or not a student has completed all class obligations.
The Hill School and the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey maintain the fifth-oldest high school sports rivalry in the United States, with the first contest between the schools dating back to 1887. On the second Saturday of each November, the schools meet to renew this athletics rivalry. In the week leading up to the games, The Hill holds a Hill vs. Lawrenceville Spirit Week that includes theme dress days; the “passing of the brooms” among fall varsity captains to signify the hoped-for “sweep” of Lawrenceville; students banging spoons on Dining Room tables prior to singing “Dear Old Hill” before seated lunches; the Red Meat Dinner, the only Friday seated dinner of the year and symbolically tied to the color red, Lawrenceville’s primary color; and a pep rally and bonfire.
Following the annual Commencement ceremony, most of the new graduates jump in The Dell, the on-campus pond, as a way of officially marking their graduation from The Hill and sharing one final bonding experience with their classmates. There has long been debate over who first began the “Jumping in the Dell” ritual. Comments provided in response to a query on The Hill’s Facebook page have indicated that the tradition was indeed started by students in The Hill School’s then all-boys class of ’82. Somewhere between the years of 1985 and 1986, the Dell jump became an “official” tradition for the entire class. (Hill became coeducational in 1998, so the first co-ed Dell jump occurred in 1999.)
“Whatsoever things are true” is The Hill’s motto, and truth is the School’s highest ideal – truth in the classroom, truth between teacher and student, and truth between the student and his or her peers. Hill curricula, policies, and procedures are predicated on truth, honesty, and trust. "Whatsoever things are true" is an excerpt from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians (Philippians 4:8). In this passage, St. Paul urges his readers to focus their actions virtuously on "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ...."