Traditions and Celebrations

Founded in 1919, St. Joseph Hill Academy has traditions that are beloved by students and alumnae from decades passed as well as newer traditions and celebrations that leave the entire student body smiling. As a Hilltopper, these are some traditions and celebrations to look forward to.
Senior SunriseThis is a newer tradition created by the Hill Class of 2022. They decided to begin their Senior Orientation day early in the morning to watch the sunrise together on their first day of their last year at Hill. It's a tradition that Hill has continued each year. Breakfast always follows!
Freshman Orientation
Spring - The incoming Freshmen gather for the first time as a class at Hill following registration but before 8th grade graduations. They have a social afternoon of events where they get to know each other and meet with representatives from Hill's robust student life- clubs, athletics, spirituality, service projects, trips, and more.
Fall - Our Freshmen begin their first half day at school with an orientation to prepare for them for the first full week of classes. They enjoy fun ice breakers to get to know each other, they meet faculty and administration, and they do a run through of their class schedule.
Sr Fresh SisterHill reintroduced the tradition of matching members of the Senior class with members of the Freshmen class early in the school year so they can speak one-on-one in an initial meeting. The Seniors serve as older sisters and mentors to their Freshmen sister and are meant to be a resource for guidance and a friendly face to Freshmen just beginning their Hill journeys.
Student Council organizes an annual welcome-back event every September for the entire student body, usually a carnival with games, prizes, snacks, and dancing.
color run
Fresh Mother Daughter TeaFreshmen students gather with their mothers or maternal family member for a Sunday tea and brunch on campus with faculty and staff. This tradition is a fun-filled bonding opportunity for the students and their moms. It's a lovely chance for the Hill community to come together on campus. This event typically takes place in the Fall.
The Senior class plants a tree each Fall on our beautiful hillside campus. No matter where Hilltoppers go, their roots are always here at Hill. Tree Planting
The National Honor Society (NHS) promotes scholarship, service, leadership and character throughout the Hill community. Juniors and Seniors with a 90% unweighted average or higher are inducted into Hill's chapter of the NHS each Fall. Candidates must also have 50 service hours per year to be considered for admission. This prestigious program acknowledges their hard work and dedication. NHS
murder mystery"Hill-o-ween" is one of the best seasons of the year. The Student Council hosts its annual Murder Mystery, during which groups of friends walk around the school interrogating teachers as they try to determine "the murderer." The 2022 theme was Zombie Insane Asylum and all teachers involved play a role. Students creatively dress for the theme every year as well. The students who guess the murder correctly win a free dress-down day. The event is always fun because students work together with their friends and get into the Halloween spirit.  
"Hill-o-ween" continues with the annual Harvest Happening. This is a school-wide assembly full of creative skits and Halloween costumes!
The Wizard of OzThe St. Joseph Hill Academy Drama Club returns to the stage each Fall with an exciting musical production. In December 2022, the Hill Drama Club performed The Wizard of Oz. They breathed new life into this classic story filled with enchantment, magic, and excitement.
Spirit Week
To show some school spirit, Student Council organizes a fun week of themed dress down days. Recent themes include Pajama Day, Holiday Day, Country vs. Country Club, Twin Day, Generations Day, Adam Sandler Day, and Hill Wear Day!
Hilltoppers participate in the annual Staten Island Polar Plunge to raise money for the Special Olympics of New York. The 2023 event was a stunning success this year. Hill students battled the frigid waters of Midland Beach for this worthy cause. Hill plungers raised more than $13,000 and were named Cool School Champions. This event raises thousands of dollars each year to cover athletes' expenses, such as uniforms, travel, equipment and practice facilities for the Special Olympics. Hilltoppers were definitely Freezin' for a Reason!
Polar Plunge
A beloved Hill tradition, the Christmas Coffeehouse is a time when students, faculty, families, and some years even recent alumnae gather to celebrate the beginning of Christmas break. The event includes performances by the Hill Singers, caroling in Italian and Spanish, a dance team performance, basket raffles, a time-honored and always hilarious faculty skit, and of course caroling with the faculty. It's the perfect event to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
Hill Singers
junior ringEvery March, usually in conjunction with a St. Joseph's Day Mass, Hill Juniors receive their school rings and enjoy a breakfast together after the ceremony. Our school ring includes a carpenter's tool, sacred heart, and blue gemstone. The rings symbolize the bond Hilltoppers will always share and the connection to their school, classmates, teachers, and God. 
The St. Joseph Hill Academy bowling team began a tradition of hosting Bowling with the Teachers night. Members of the bowling team faced faculty members and staff. Everyone shows off their skills during the matches and enjoys some pizza too. 
100 days massHill Seniors with the entire Hill High School student body and faculty annually mark 100 Days until Graduation with a Mass. Seniors will have breakfast together following the Mass. It's an opportunity for Seniors to come together with their school as they begin to face the end of their time as high school students at St. Joseph Hill Academy.
Service Day
Hill has held thirteen annual Service Days and is the only high school on Staten Island where the entire student body and faculty participate in volunteer opportunities throughout the community. In 2023, students were able to sign up at one of nearly 30 locations. It was an opportunity for Hilltoppers to give and interact with their community allowing them to see firsthand the impact their service has on others. 
The Green Fashion Show is an annual opportunity for students to design and model fashions made from 100% recycled materials, including paper bags, magazines, trash bags, and denim. It's a great creative outlet for students interested in fashion and sustainability. 
Green Fashion Show
May CrowningEach May, a Hill Senior crowns Mary with flowers in a special school ceremony. 
Each Easter Break, juniors and seniors have the option to go on an international trip (previous trips have included Greece, Italy, Iceland, England, France, Australia, and more) with faculty and staff. It's a wonderful learning experience and bonding opportunity. In 2023 students voted for Greece as the destination. 
Hill's field day, this much-loved Hill tradition began in 2009. Each year grade levels compete as teams in a series of games. They enjoy a BBQ lunch and an afternoon Airbands competition. Check out this video created by Hill Alumna Athina Sonitis '19 that captures the true spirit of this tradition.
Spring ConcertHill Singers perform a series of songs in a concert directed by Ms. Donna D'Ermilio each Spring. In 2022, the Spring Choral Concert featured music from Broadway and films including The Greatest Showman, Beautiful, Waitress, and a special tribute to Disney musicals. 
Seniors take a trip to Disney World with some faculty after they wrap up classes and finals to celebrate their accomplishments and have some fun together. Students bond with their entire class and feel the magic of Disney!
The entire student body gathers in assembly to honor the Senior class. Seniors are recognized with honors and awards including the annual Miss Hilltopper Award. Seniors wear t-shirts from the colleges they will attend.
senior farewell 
senior nightSenior Night is an event at the end of the school year for Seniors to gather on campus, usually in the Social Hall and on the Social Hall Patio, to sign watch one final sunrise together, sign each other's yearbooks, reminisce about their four magical years at Hill, and make plans for their futures. 
 Performing Arts ShowcasePerforming Arts Showcase
Senior PromJunior Prom
Each year, a Junior Prom is held in the spring and a Senior Prom is held after graduation at a venue in Staten Island, NY. There is a Junior Prom Committee and a Senior Prom Committee that helps with all the planning.