Traditions reinforce the fabric of community at Trinity-Pawling, playing an essential role in the dynamic of the learning and living environment. Gathering for Chapel each day as a group of individuals reaffirms our similarities rather than our differences. The way students choose to dress and present themselves, both on and off campus, reflects their commitment to character. Family-style meals provide shared discussions over a meal, promoting community and connectedness. Traditions such as these are the symbolic features that give substance to our lives on campus. They allow the School to pursue growth with deep integrity, at the individual and institutional levels.

Trinity-Pawling boys dressed in blues and grays make their way down to the dining hall for Opening Days lunch

Blues & Grays

At Trinity-Pawling, we pride ourselves on the way we dress. The most formal, “Blues and Grays,” calls for navy blue blazer, gray trousers, and white button down shirt with a tie. The young men don this attire for occasions such as the opening of school chapel service in September, Candlelight, various Evensong chapel services, Stepping Up, and Commencement in May. The tradition of blues and grays allows the students to value the importance of presenting oneself well to honor significant occasions.

A traditional Candlelight service at Trinity-Pawling in All Saints' Chapel


Records indicate that the first Service of Lessons and Carols took place in All Saints’ Chapel in 1938. Commonly known on campus as Candlelight, this beloved tradition occurs on the Sunday and Tuesday evenings prior to the start of the Christmas break. All Saints’ Chapel is bedecked with fragrant greenery and poinsettias, flickering candlelight infuses the chapel interior with a warm glow, and every member of the community holds a lighted candle for the conclusion of the service. The Chapel choir and a brass quintet perform a series of Christmas hymns, and the nine lessons are read by students, faculty members, a parent, and a trustee. A celebratory roast beef feast in Scully Hall follows the Tuesday evening service.

Trinity-Pawling students enjoy a chapel service in All Saints' Chapel


Since its inception in 1907, Trinity-Pawling has been an Episcopal school. The School gathers several times each week in All Saints’ Chapel, the center of spiritual life. While the services adhere to Episcopalian traditions, the overarching purpose is to come together as a community in a place that inspires reflection. In addition to hearing a Biblical passage and singing a hymn, students and faculty are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences in chapel talks. Even in the 21st century, All Saints’ Chapel remains the soul of the School.

The Trinity-Pawling community gathers for a family-style meal in Scully Hall

Family-Style Meals

Trinity-Pawling has a legacy of boys and faculty eating meals together in a formal setting complete with tablecloths and waiters. These family-style meals provide an opportunity to come together and break bread as a community. Two faculty members oversee each table of ten, and boys rotate among the tables every three weeks. This allows for boys and faculty who might not have other associations to get to know one another. Underclassmen learn to serve as waiters, guided by upperclassmen and faculty. Family-style meals last approximately half an hour and offer a chance for conversation and connection.

Trinity-Pawling students say their goodbyes in the traditional Stepping Up ceremony

Stepping Up

Stepping Up traces its roots to the 1930s. In this service, held the day before Commencement in late May, each class steps up to the next level. Underclass academic awards and honors are conferred, leadership roles for the following year are announced, and the service concludes with naming the prefects who will lead the School forward. Upon departing All Saints’ Chapel, members of the senior class line up along the pathway behind Cluett, and every member of the school community has a chance to say farewell to each senior. This bittersweet, emotionally-charged ceremony is undoubtedly the most moving tradition of the year.

A cherry blossom tree on campus

Trinity-Pawling Arboretum

Sophomore Class Tree Dedication

Trinity-Pawling’s Arboretum was officially dedicated on September 21, 2012. Every spring, the sophomore class works together to fundraise and donate a new tree to the Arboretum. The Arboretum features an interpretive walk throughout the School’s 230 acres, including over 200 specimens and over 30 varieties. Each tree bears a tag identifying this information. View the map of the arboretum to learn more. The Arboretum and the Sophomore Class Tree Dedication reflects the School’s commitment to creating an atmosphere of excitement and interest in the living environment, while supporting campus sustainability.


One of the most unique independent schools in the Northeast. Excellent faculty, beautiful campus and facilities, competitive athletics, and the best school to develop a young man for success in the years beyond.Trinity-Pawling Alumnus