The Grandeur of Mountain Day

Fall moves pretty fast at Gould. After Orientation, we hit the ground running at a spectacular pace.

Classes begin. There are assemblies and formal dinners. Juniors and seniors are consumed with ACTs, SATs, college visits and applications. There is study hall every night, co-curricular activities and sports every afternoon, and most students are members of at least one on-campus club, if not more. There are even classes on some Saturdays. Not every minute of the day is scheduled, but sometimes it feels that way.

There’s not a lot of down time, which makes Mountain Day even more special.
It happens every fall. Amidst the spirited shouts of “SENIORS!!” at assembly you start to hear the occasional call for “Mountain Day!” towards the end of September.

And then one day it happens.

During assembly, a mountaineer might repel from the ceiling of Bingham Auditorium, or a video message from the Head of School suddenly appears. However the announcement is made, one thing remains the same. A blue and gold Gould scarf makes an appearance and the auditorium fills with applause and joyous voices.

This year, while teachers Doug Alford and Jim McLaughlin sang about what they might do with a million dollars, a dancing husky appeared on stage to confirm what everyone was whispering about the night before.

It’s Mountain Day. Classes are canceled, and we’re going hiking.

It’s a special time. There are lots of logistics and students bolt to the dining hall to fix bag lunches and fill up water bottles. Chaos ensues. But that all changes when students arrive at the summit. No classes, no tests, and no meetings. Just a walk in the woods with your friends, unplugging and having lunch at the top of a mountain.

In recent years that mountain has been Rumford White Cap. Should an unsuspecting fall hiker find themselves crossing paths with 200+ Gould students, Director of Experiential Learning Chris Hayward carries a token of appreciation, a gift card to Bethel establishments to make up for the extra foot traffic on their trip.

Being in the mountains is what we do, but the tone of this day is special. Everyone appreciates the break from classes and enjoys the company of each other. Mountain Day is a Gould tradition, and the entire community recognizes the grandeur and gravity of the day.

“Mountain day is such an important tradition because it is something unique to Gould and a great way to connect with others in the community outside of school while releasing some academic stress!” – Fiona Keough ’25

“Climbing a mountain while carrying a ukulele and a drum is a bit of extra weight but the tunes always elevate the mood, and even though multitasking while climbing a mountain takes your breath away so does the amazing view.” – Josh Lowrey ’23

“Mountain Day is a great Gould traditional. So fun to be outdoors together as a whole school. I really enjoy hiking with students and having lunch with colleagues at the top of the mountain.” – Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning Brad Clarke P’12,’15,’16,’19

Private High School for Boys and Girls | Grades 9-12, Postgraduate and Winter Term for Grades 7-8 | Boarding School in the Mountains of Maine

Gould Academy guides students to be creative, courageous and resilient and to lead lives of fulfillment and purpose.