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Holderness News
Andrew Herring

What do a velvet Elvis, white clothes, and the Cubs all have in common? All-school photo.  We have many traditions at Holderness, but the velvet Elvis may be one of most beloved and bizarre!  Let us explain.

Velvet Elvis is one of the most iconic all-school photo traditions.  As Head of School Phil Peck shared in the Photo of the Day, “there is a tradition of a few students running from one side of the photo to the other with a velvet Elvis in their hands. That tradition started my first fall at Holderness in 1984 when teachers Norm Walker and Jim Connor '74 ran behind the bleachers to appear in the photo twice.  The original velvet Elvis was actually a fun gift from Margaret and Jim Connor to me when I turned 30. Needless to say, [my wife] Robin loved the humor but immediately took the birthday present out to the dorm!  A year later Elvis appeared in the school photo, and before too long, he was appearing twice!”

The tradition of seniors wearing white began around 2009, when senior girls used the all-school photo as a moment to acknowledge their final year at Holderness and make a nod to the tradition of wearing white at Commencement.  To this day, only seniors are able to wear white for the all-school photo! 

And, the Chicago Cubs tie is another tradition dating back to the early 1980s, when a student from Chicago passed down a Cubs tie to a rising senior before graduation.  That tie has been passed down for the last 38 years and makes appearances at important events throughout the year, like the all-school photo.  This year, Head of School Phil Peck was the deserving recipient of the tie, as he celebrates his 'senior' year before his retirement this summer.

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