1982 was a big year – the classic film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was released to immediate success, Olivia Newton-John’s song “Physical” topped the charts, and Diet Coke hit grocery store shelves for the first time. On September 7, 1982, Wellington opened its halls to 137 boisterous students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Since then, Wellington has grown to include the traditions we love and the people we treasure.
As we celebrate Wellington’s 40th anniversary, we’re taking a look at the people, programs, and spaces that made Wellington what it is today and are looking forward to the next 40 years and beyond.
Founders Day 2022
We couldn’t let Founders Day, Wellington’s annual celebration of the school’s founding, pass without some special 40th twists.
Cries of “hi, Duke!” rang out as a smiling Duke greeted students and families in the early morning. Wellington’s oldest flag, put on special display this year, served as a backdrop for hugs, high-fives, and the occasional look of terror from students. After morning car line, Duke made a special visit to prekindergarten students.
To prepare for the afternoon pep rally, students, faculty, and staff were provided shiny birthday hats to celebrate Duke’s (and Wellington’s) 40th birthday. Duke greeted the crowd while wearing his own Wellington-themed birthday hat. Students sang “Happy Birthday” and watched Duke enjoy a special cake.
Masters of ceremony Artie Taylor P ’23, assistant athletic director, and Brian O’Masta, director of sports performance, expertly opened the pep rally. Fall athletes paraded into applause and summaries of their seasons so far.
The cheer team helped each division build excitement for the event’s highlight – the spirit stick competition. As they led divisions in call and repeats, thunderous yells shook the floor of Gard Gym. A coveted award for having the most school spirit, competition adjudicators declared upper school the winners. Ecstatic Head of Upper School Rishi Raghunathan P ’27 ’30 ran, in a blow-up blue costume, to center court to accept his division’s victory. Victorious cheers ushered in the beginning of upper school’s reign as spirit champions.
During the evening’s celebrations and homecoming, tigers, butterflies, and cheetahs ran around enjoying bounce houses, shaved ice, and frisbee, after the face painting, of course.
The Wellington Archive created a commemorative display of historic Wellington fashion. From the handmade, Wellington-customized canvas shoes to the first senior class graduation shirt from 1989, visitors enjoyed this peek into 40 years of Wellington style.
Continuing to build on Wellington style – to celebrate the 40th anniversary with a special look and feel, screen printers live printed Wellington 40th anniversary t-shirts.
On Roberts Field, the boys and girls varsity soccer teams played opponents Tree of Life. During the break between the two games, Wellington honored founder Ken Ackerman GP ’05 ’08 and Barbie Holland P ’91 GP ’12 ’17, wife of the late founder Bob Holland P ’91 GP ’12 ’17. Vociferous cheers and applause emanated from the stands. After honoring the founders for their vision, the Homecoming Court stepped onto the field. Katie Kuttrus ’23 and Maya Avery ’23 were named Wellington’s Royals for their embodiment of the Wellington spirit, a recognition determined by their peers.
We’re Changing Our Spots – Wellington’s New Wing
When you look at Wellington’s new wing, it’s hard to believe that groundbreaking took place just one year ago in October 2021! Since then, much progress has been made as construction crews laid the foundation, framed the wing and classroom spaces, and are now working on the finishing touches.
The new space, designed with the flexibility to support student autonomy and foster community connectedness, is scheduled to welcome faculty and students in early 2023.
We hope you’ll join us for an opening celebration on Sunday, November 13, from 2-3 p.m. We will honor the dynamic new learning spaces that the Wellington community helped create.
Making it to 40 is a big deal for any person or organization. Wellington, and you if you’re 40 or older, have made it past the average life expectancy of people in Classical Athens, Vedic India, and early modern England. We’re older than the first Tamagotchi, the television show “Friends,” and Blockbuster Video. To prepare for this momentous occasion, and with the tremendous support of Jeff Terwin, head of school, and Laurie Beth Sweeney, chief experience officer and director of development, Kerrie Kirkpatrick, alumni and donor experience coordinator and Jessica Young, strategic communicators coordinator, undertook the first stage of permanently organizing the Wellington Archive.
Deciding to first tackle the photography collection, Kirkpatrick and Young enlisted the help of Madeline Meimaridis ’24 and Simrin Ruegsegger ’24. The quartet spent hundreds of hours during the summer of 2022 dating and organizing thousands of photographs and negatives. There’s still more archival work to do – recording photograph subjects, categorizing by subject matter, and moving materials into the permanent archive location – but this step has helped preserve Wellington’s history for years to come.