Leaving a Legacy: Hill students and faculty discuss class gift tradition


The Class of 2021 garden will serve as a gathering place for students. Photo by Claire Hartemink ’21.

The class gift is a time-honored tradition of the Hill School that has transformed the campus year by year. This year, the gift from the Class of 2021 is the new Inclusion Garden that will be installed across from the Chapel. 

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the Headmaster’s Garden became a pivotal part of the 6th formers’ experience in their final year at Hill, which is why creating a beautiful space around it seemed like a suitable decision.

“We wanted to enhance that area around the Headmaster’s Garden because we realized how special it is,” Form Dean Ed Turner said. “The connection to it for this class is certainly related to the restrictions imposed on students this year.” 

The process of choosing a class gift involves the school’s administrative offices along with 6th form advisors. 

“Generally, the Office of Institutional Giving works with the Form Advisers and the School Administration to identify appropriate projects that also are a priority for the school,” Headmaster Zack Lehman stated in an email. 

According to Class Secretary Tommy Simpson ’21, the 6th formers themselves did not have a say in what their class gift was going to be. 

“I think the class should give money to something that they believe brought them together and something that they believe in,” Simpson said. “With that being said, I think they did very well. The Headmasters Garden is a very important space for our class, so I would like to thank everyone involved in choosing our gift. I think that this space will be a place we can physically come back to and enjoy.”

Other 6th form students share the sentiment that the money should go towards something meaningful for their class and that students should play a bigger part in choosing what they leave behind as their legacy at Hill. 

“I wish we had more say in this,” Tabby Mastrangelo ’21 said. “A garden is nice, but we end up raising the money to fund it, so I would rather it can go to groups or projects that can genuinely help students and address student needs.”

Despite any disagreements about its format, the class gift is still an opportunity for the 6th form to give thanks and leave their mark on the Hill campus.

“Every Sixth Form has taken on the responsibility to give back to the School in honor of their experience and the faculty and staff members who have supported them along their Hill journey,” Lehman stated in an email. “It is also a way of respecting the many alumni who have come before them and have made their Hill education possible with their own giving.”