All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025

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Blair appreciates who you are,

what you stand for & all that you can achieve.


The Blair experience is transformative.

Find out how it can change your life.


Blair academics inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Our robust curriculum invites you to explore your passions.


At Blair, students explore artistic interests & discover new passions.

Vibrant fine & performing arts opportunities abound.


Athletics are part of the fabric of our community.

Bucs compete on 30 varsity & 21 JV and thirds teams.


Blair’s 460-acre campus is filled with history & natural beauty.

Experience the highlights by taking a virtual tour.


Let us introduce you to Blair!

We'd love to welcome you to campus for a tour and interview.


All together we boldly write Blair’s next chapter.

Our Strategic Plan highlights our “All In” philosophy.


Our faculty members are passionate about education.

They care about & know our students exceptionally well.


‘What do you stand for?’

Blair community members participate in The Leadership Stories Project.


No matter what your interests or where you are from,

you will find your place at Blair.


Justin & Max cut ribbon at J&G wing dedication

The renovated Bogle Science Center stands as a spacious and cutting-edge home for Blair’s learning in the sciences, offering students state-of-the-art classroom/labs or CLABS in which to study and experiment. Although the revitalized space was initially dedicated in October 2019, the School officially commemorated the opening of the building’s J & G Science Wing in November. During a special ceremony to mark the occasion, Head of School Peter G. Curran P ’27 ’27 extended a warm welcome to brothers Justin Jiang ’22 and Max Gao ’22 and expressed his gratitude for their family’s generosity, emphasizing its role in supporting the School’s continued academic success. 

“Facilities like this one are state of the art and offer students incredible opportunities inside and outside of class,” Mr. Curran told the assembled audience. “For this, we are immensely thankful.”

Now studying at Columbia University, Max and Justin fondly reminisced about their years on the hilltop, particularly their experiences with challenging courses in the Bogle Science Center like Integrated Science Research and AP Physics. Speaking at the dedication, Max expressed a desire to relive his time at Blair and said, “I spent so much of my time in these buildings….Blair gave me a strong foundation in academics and the opportunity for lifelong friendships.” Justin echoed that sentiment, acknowledging the difficulty of his AP Physics Electricity and Magnetism class but highlighting how it provided him with the deep academic understanding that has set him up for success in his current physics course at Columbia. 

Looking ahead, Justin expressed optimism for the building’s continued impact on fellow Bucs, stating, “I hope this building in the future will help more students cultivate their scientific understanding and interest in science.”

BVB recap vs. Worcester 2023

Blair’s School Store is ready for the upcoming holiday season! Visit the shop on campus or online to choose from a number of amazing gift items to help your family and friends show their Buccaneer spirit.

blair quilt

Among the unique, custom gifts Blair offers are varsity sweaters, winter hats and scarves, blankets, jewelry, leather tab belts, custom ties, class banners, pennants, coasters, picture frames, diploma frames, ornaments, travel mugs, dog collars and leashes, and clothing for all ages.

Remember to shop early and allow time for delivery, as Friday, December 15, is the last day to place an online order for delivery in time for the holidays.

For more information, please contact Reanne Mauriello, school store manager, at (908) 362-6121, ext. 5635, or

Laurie Lambert Leads at the Stoneleigh-Burnham School

The strength of Blair connections was on prominent display at the installation of former Blair faculty member Laurie (Johnson) Lambert, who was installed as head of school at the Stoneleigh-Burnham in Greenfield, Massachusetts, this fall. Mrs. Lambert’s transition from inspiring teacher to visionary leader comes as no surprise to those who had the privilege of working with her at Blair. In the 1990s, Ms. Johnson, as she was then known, quickly became beloved as a Blair English teacher and assistant theatre director. Directing three productions per year, she formed close bonds with many students, so much so that students dedicated the 1992 yearbook to her “with great admiration and gratitude.” Recognized as a mentor with patience and perseverance, she brought theatre to life with her infectious spirit. 

During her installation ceremony at Stoneleigh-Burnham, Mrs. Lambert was honored with an introduction from Rachel (Spierling) Stone, head of school at the Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. The pair first crossed paths in 1994 when they were both young teachers at Blair, a period during which they met their husbands and formed the foundations of their careers alongside a dynamic group of fellow faculty. Since leaving the hilltop, the two have found ways to stay connected and Mrs. Stone was especially pleased to offer her support as Mrs. Lambert assumed the role of head of school at an all-girls institution. “It is a powerful opportunity to inspire, support and advance the voices of these talented young women,” Mrs. Stone told those assembled at the ceremony. “Laurie’s career has been marked by her willingness to roll up her sleeves in order to tackle whatever and whenever the next challenge surfaces….This is the perfect partnership.” All of us at Blair are excited to see Mrs. Lambert’s vision for the Stoneleigh-Burnham School come to life, and we look forward to cheering her on in her well-deserved new role. 

leo m. '24 fall concert

At the last Monday School meeting before break, Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto ’97 shared a message with the students gathered in DuBois Theatre, speaking particularly to the seniors in the front row.

“Do not wish this time away,” Mr. Pagotto urged, asking students to appreciate all the opportunities they have during their Blair experience and acknowledge that it will go by all too quickly.

As the students eagerly await their break next week, they will join together Friday evening for a family-style dinner to express their gratitude for this community and attend the Fall Concert to celebrate the amazing talent on stage in Blair’s performing arts department. The Blair Academy Singers, Chamber Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra have prepared a dazzling performance that will commence on Friday, November 17, at 7 p.m. in the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts, DuBois Theatre.

For many seniors, it has not gone unnoticed that this will be their last Fall Concert performance, and they are thankful to share in the moment with their fellow performers. Arthur Lee ’24 says he is excited to step into the role of concertmaster this year, carrying on a tradition that contributes to Blair’s vibrant community while performing with a group of talented musicians that have grown together in their musical careers. 

“The most gratifying part about being in orchestra over the past few years is improving alongside my peers,” Leo Munasinghe ’24 said. “Playing alongside Arthur—after joining orchestra when we were both new sophomores and progressing together to the top of the Violin 1 Section as seniors—feels like a full circle moment.”

kendall w. '24 quote

Leo is most excited to perform “Baba Yetu” by Christopher Tin at Friday’s concert, a song originating from the video game Civilization IV. “The melody, while simple at times, is beautiful in captivating the harmonies between the various sections of the orchestra,” Leo said. “My favorite part is the final chord, where the excitement of the preceding parts of the piece all come together.”

Director of Instrumental Music Jennifer Pagotto is also looking forward to the orchestra sharing “Baba Yetu” as their closing piece. She highlighted the song as Mr. Tin’s best-known work and the recipient of the first Grammy award ever given to a piece of video game music. Other highlights of the concert from Mrs. Pagotto include Jazz Ensemble solos from Khang Nguyen ’26 on piano, Ethan Anthony ’24 on alto saxophone and Michael Mokrov ’27 on guitar. The ensemble will be performing jazz standards, composed and recorded by several iconic musicians throughout jazz history, and each features a distinct style and groove. Mrs. Pagotto reflects on the Fall Concert as a wonderful time for the community to applaud the culmination of the hard work student-performers committed to this semester.

Director of Vocal Music Ryan Manni echoes Mrs. Pagotto’s sentiments about the concert, sharing his enthusiasm for his choir students’ repertoire this year. Their catalog features a number of pieces from television, film and stage, including the “Game of Thrones Theme” performed by the Blair Academy Singers and “James Bond Theme” performed by the Chamber Choir.

“I am sure that our community will enjoy familiar music from films and TV shows that we prepared for them,” Ksenia Burdiuzha ’24 shared. “I am really excited to perform ‘The Skye Boat Song’ with a high-voice ensemble because of its inherent richness.

Music selection aside, Ksenia has enjoyed her three years singing at Blair because of the incredibly talented and supportive community. “I want to say thank you to Mr. Manni for all the work that he is doing. He is the one who inspires everyone to work hard every day,” Ksenia added. 

That sense of community and respect for their director is felt by both the vocal and instrumental students performing Friday night, according to Leo. “A highlight of being in the orchestra is when a new piece comes together after having spent the time learning it,” he explained. “The expression on Mrs. Pagotto's face after the first time of playing the piece the entire way through without any flaws is felt throughout the entire orchestra; her gaze is met with the excitement on each and every player’s face.”

To experience the Fall Concert live on Friday, visit at 7 p.m. to watch the livestream. A recording will be available and posted to Blair’s Vimeo account after the event.

Milaw & Ella with flag

On Wednesday, November 8, Blair Academy celebrated senior student-athletes who made commitments to play college sports next year. Athletes were able to commit at the first signing period of the school year, before they entered their final Blair seasons competing for the Buccaneers.

“These student-athletes are leaving the Blair athletic program better than they’ve found it,” said Paul Clavel ’88, Blair’s Director of Athletics. “That is what we hope for among all our student-athletes who compete for the School. We wish them the best in their futures.”

Congratulations to the following student-athletes who made commitments:

Jayden Williams ’24 - Bucknell University, Boys’ Basketball

Lukas Schmid ’24 - Tufts University, Boys’ Basketball

Elizabeth Archer ’24 - American University, Girls’ Basketball

Carter Neves ’24 - Ohio State University, Wrestling

Matty Lopes  ’24 - Lehigh University, Wrestling

Josh Anthony ’24 - United States Naval Academy, Wrestling

Aleksa Bazylevsky ’24 - Boston College, Girls’ Crew

Allie Wolff ’24 - Duke University, Girls’ Crew

Brynne Grant ’24 - University of Michigan, Girls’ Lacrosse

Ella Gaitan ’24 - University of Maryland, Field Hockey

Milaw Clause ’24 - University of Connecticut, Field Hockey

Sydney Incarnato ’24 - William & Mary, Girls’ Soccer

Founder of Planetwalk Dr. John Francis Reminds Skeptics to be the Change They Wish to See in the World

It’s a quote we all know and love well, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” attributed to late global leader and peacekeeper Mahatma Gandhi. That’s exactly what Founder of nonprofit Planetwalk Dr. John Francis did in 1971 when he took a vow of silence that lasted for 17 years. What led him to take such extreme measures? His activist work started after seeing the horrendous impact of an oil spill in his community along the San Francisco Bay. 
While helping others clean up after the oil spill, the young 27 year-old felt the need to help in a bigger way. He stopped using motorized vehicles and began walking wherever he went. After receiving some mockery from some friends and family, however, Dr. Francis made the decision to turn silent as well. The next time he spoke again wouldn’t be until nearly two decades later, when he was asked to speak at an event in Washington, D.C., on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day.
Blair is most excited to hear from Dr. Francis who will speak at the Society of Skeptics on Tuesday, November 11, on his life, journey and current, heroic work with Planetwalk.  
“At first, I decided to give up talking for one day,” shared Dr. Francis in a TED Talk in 2008. “And it was a very moving experience, because for the first time in a long time, I started listening.” 
The refreshing sensation of processing what communication and listening genuinely meant, Dr. Francis decided to continue “keeping quiet.” During the next 17 years, Dr. Francis “walked, played the banjo, painted, wrote in his journal, and tried to study.” After spending time living in a wilderness area he decided to pursue his formal education.
He received his bachelors of science degree from Southern Oregon State College, and afterwards found Planetwalk, a non-profit dedicated to raising environmental awareness.  He went on to earn a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana-Missoula, and a doctorate in land resources from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
At the National Geographic Society, where Dr. Francis, served as the first education fellow,  he found the opportunity to publish three books: Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking, The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World, and Human Kindness: True Stories of Compassion and Generosity the Changed the World. Today, Dr. Francis dedicates  his time to managing his organization, Planetwalking across Africa, and speaking all over the world, influencing and learning from young students. 

“While I understand that what I have done may be inspiring to young students, I am also looking forward to learning and being inspired by them,” said Dr. Francis in a pre-event interview. “I am looking forward to learning more about Blair, the students there and the Skeptics program.”

Dr. Francis cannot wait to join the hilltop and relay an important lesson: “Remember to persevere, listen to others and practice kindness, because as we aspire so shall we become.”

All are welcome to hear Dr. Francis speak in the forum of the Chiang-Elghanayan Center next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.

Blair Buccaneer

Blair is proud to have a remarkable group of alumni who have excelled beyond the hilltop in the world of sports. Recently, a number of former Bucs have earned accolades that made headlines over the last few weeks and months. Below are several alums who have earned athletic achievements this past fall.

Several Blair wrestlers have been named captains of Ivy League wrestling programs this year: Leo Tarantino ’18 is captain at Harvard, Nick Incontrera ’19 captains UPenn’s team and Julian Ramirez ’19 captains at Cornell.

Jordan Dingle ’19 was recently named to the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Preseason Watch List. He will play for St. John’s University this upcoming winter.

Rebecca Groseibl ’20 played an important role for Towson University’s women’s soccer team when they won the CAA Conference Championship this past fall.

Sanoussi Kane ’20 had a successful season for the Purdue football team. On October 28, he recorded ten tackles against Nebraska at safety.

Andre Matias ’07 recently qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics in the Mens’ IX sculling event and will represent Angola.

Lucy Barton ’23 had a great season for Gettysburg women’s golf. She was named Centennial Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week for her performance at the McDaniel Fall Invitational, where she shot a low of 76. It was the lowest round by a female Gettysburg golfer since 2019.

We would love to hear from you! If you are a former Buc with a recent athletic achievement to share, please email Assistant Athletic Director Rhett Moroses ’13 at

cross country peddie day

While Blair’s fall athletes were giving it their all on the fields, courts and cross country course at Peddie Day on Saturday, the School’s very own Director of Photography Tyson Trish and video and marketing specialist CJ Palanca were there to capture every moment. Their photos and videos—and those from student photographers working with Mr. Trish—highlight the fun and excitement of our annual tradition and the purposeful joy that comes from participating in this community event. The day may have ended in a tie, but the celebration that ensued was still exhilarating.

Watch Mr. Palanca’s highlight video below and then tour the new athletics photo site, home of the Blair Academy Photo Squad! This is a new platform where athletics enthusiasts, as well as family and friends, can explore the world of Blair sports as captured by our talented student photographers and Mr. Trish. Blair students possess an unrivaled knack for capturing the essence of competition—through heart-pounding action shots, captivating media day photos, and the behind-the-scenes camaraderie in the quiet moments before a game. Join us in celebrating Blair’s student photographers as they bring the magic of sports to life. Feel free to contact Mr. Trish at with any questions or comments.

120th Peddie Day & The Lasting Legacy of the Kelley-Potter Cup

For only the sixth time in the Kelley-Potter Cup’s 35-year history, today’s Peddie Day competitions ended in a tie. With several all-star performances and a thunderous crowd of alums, students, families, faculty and staff cheering them on, the Buccaneers tied the Falcons with a 5-5-1 score on the 120th Peddie Day. The Kelley-Potter Cup will be shared throughout the next year, residing in Blairstown—this year’s home team—for the first six months and Hightstown for the remainder.

2023 Peddie Day Scores

It was a beautiful fall day filled with excitement for everyone who ventured to the hilltop to participate in Peddie Day. At the Blair hospitality tent, parents connected with one another as alums reunited with classmates and faculty-turned-friends over hot cocoa and firepits as the day commenced. The morning competitions began with a tough loss for the JV girls’ tennis team, rescheduled from Monday afternoon. The Bubble was crowded with fans to cheer on the Bucs who gave it their all on the court. From there, varsity field hockey and varsity boys’ soccer clinched two shutout victories, but JV girls’ soccer suffered a loss, bringing the Cup total to 2-2. 

Despite Isaac Greene ’24 clinching first overall for cross country, both the girls’ and boys’ teams fell to Peddie. In the Bowl, JV field hockey dominated with a 6-0 victory with goals from multiple Bucs and ended their season on a high note. A loss from varsity girls’ tennis, a tie from JV boys’ soccer and a win from varsity girls’ soccer brought the Cup total to 4-5-1. It all came down to the football game. Only a win would tie it; anything else would be a loss.

It was a scoreless game with less than six minutes remaining when captain Yaneik Gallego ’24 ran for a touchdown, and, with the extra point, the Bucs were up 7-0. Luke Dale ’24 recorded an interception for a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game, securing a win for the varsity football game and an overall tie for the Cup. 

“Wins and losses aside, all of us at Blair couldn’t be prouder of our students for their enthusiasm, sportsmanship, perseverance and work ethic,” Head of School Peter G. Curran P’27 ’27 said. “Peddie Day is truly one of my favorite Blair traditions, and it was terrific seeing our community in action on a beautiful fall day. Go Bucs!”

The Lasting Legacy of the Kelley-Potter Cup

Kelley-Potter Cup

Much has changed in the 120 years of the Blair-Peddie Rivalry, a quintessential part of the boarding school experience and highlight of the fall season for all of us. While the entire school, as well as many parents and alumni, have come out in force to cheer the Buccaneers to victory over the Falcons for decades, traditions surrounding the competition have come in and out of popularity through generations. What initially began in 1903 as New Jersey’s oldest prep school football rivalry has evolved over time to encompass a wide range of sports, culminating in a full day of athletic competitions alternating between Blair’s and Peddie’s campuses in Blairstown and Hightstown. One change that has revolutionized the tradition of Peddie Day was introduced 35 years ago by the Class of 1989—the Kelley-Potter Cup.

“The Kelley-Potter Cup is a great example of the power of compounding,” Stirling Levy ’89 explained. “From the stories I hear, over the past 35 years, the Kelley-Potter Cup has become more meaningful to both the Blair and Peddie communities as time goes on.” 

A gift from the Class of 1989, the Cup was Stirling’s brainchild after he competed for something similar at his former school, Rumsey Hall, in Washington, Connecticut. “We wanted something meaningful, that people would remember,” Stirling said. With that, the Kelley-Potter Cup was born.

peddie blair code

When it came to naming the cup, Stirling shared that the class wanted to honor Blair’s 14th Head of School, the Rev. James R. Kelley, Hon. ’51 ’89—who was retiring at the end of that school year—and Peddie’s 13th Head of School, F. Edward Potter Jr., who passed away suddenly that year. The two campus leaders arrived at their respective schools within a year of each other and cultivated a friendship before assuming their roles. The cup’s namesake also held significance for Peddie’s Class of 1989, who counted Mr. Potter’s daughter, Tappen, in their ranks. Stirling remembers sharing the idea with Mr. Potter’s wife, Hillary, who embraced the loving tribute. 

During the inaugural competition featuring the Kelley-Potter Cup, Stirling is proud that Blair emerged victorious that fall and secured the trophy’s residence on the hilltop after his class led a series of capers aimed at boosting school spirit. “Early in the week, my roommate Nat Taylor ’89 and I staged a false flag campaign,” Stirling recalled. “Nat, who is a great artist, created a banner making fun of Blair, and in the middle of the night, we hung it outside the gymnasium building for the entire school to see, making it seem like Peddie students had snuck onto campus under the cover of night. The next morning at School meeting, I did my best to feign outrage at Peddie and get my classmates fired up.”

Hijinx aside, Stirling is appreciative of the cup’s lasting legacy and the evolution of Peddie Day through the years. “I am proud that we decided to make each sporting contest worth one point to distribute school spirit equally among the games. I always enjoy meeting people in the Blair or Peddie communities and asking them about the Kelley-Potter Cup, and I am pleased that the Class of ’89 was able to leave the Blair-Peddie rivalry a little better than we found it.

A Full Orbit Moment for Aerospace Engineer Annika Rollock ’14 with Return to Skeptics

Since graduating from Blair in 2014, Dr. Annika Rollock ’14 has become quite the expert in aerospace engineering after accruing laudable experience as a flight systems engineer at NASA,  a design development engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, and today, as the Director of Engineering at the Aurelia Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to reviewing her professional experiences, Dr. Rollock will relive her days as a tenacious student and star athlete at Skeptics on Tuesday, November 7.

“I remember high school as being a time when I personally felt a lot of pressure to define myself and figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” started Dr. Rollock in a pre-event interview. “I felt pulled in a lot of different directions, especially after Blair once I got to university, and it felt like there was never enough time in the day to give to all the things that I wanted to do,” she admitted.

“I hope that showing some of my experiences—and more importantly, my struggles and failures— can help younger students feel less alone and that everything will be okay.”

After graduating from Blair, Dr. Rollock went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After finishing undergraduate school, Dr. Rollock enrolled at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she earned not only a master of science degree, also in aerospace engineering, but a doctorate’s degree as well. 

As if her days weren’t already busy enough, Dr. Rollock also delegated additional time to gaining professional experiences as both a graduate student researcher, club member, and teaching assistant. 

Though her achievements have caused some to characterize her as a modern Wonder Woman, Dr. Rollock admits to having felt overwhelmed. Looking back, she says she has relied on one question to help her overcome life’s difficult moments. 

“During really tough situations, whether it be a stressful work environment, a family emergency, or the middle of a really long [running] race, the most helpful approach I’ve found to getting myself through is to think: What can I do about this right now? I find it’s helpful to narrow my focus a bit, to bring the tunnel vision in so I don't get overwhelmed and can actually start working toward a practical solution. And, sometimes the answer is nothing, and that’s okay, too. f you can’t do anything about it, there’s no sense worrying. Of course it’s easier said than done, but I find it’s a useful exercise.”

In addition to speaking on her professional opportunities, Dr. Rollock wants to dedicate the majority of her talk to prioritization and mindfulness—qualities that will hopefully resonate deeply with high schoolers. 

“I want to make sure that I speak on the importance of finding fulfillment in different aspects of one’s life, and how one can use varied interests as tools to avoid burnout in an increasingly specialized world.”

“For me, work/life balance has often been defined through my love of endurance sports and my more technical work as an aerospace engineer. The talk will be somewhat introspective, but my goal is to show the lessons I’ve learned and how they can be broadly applicable,” shared Dr. Rollock. 

All are welcome to hear Dr. Rollock speak in the forum of the Chiang-Elghanayan Center next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.

Peddie Day

Peddie Week is upon us! As a lead-up to our 120th Peddie Day on Saturday, November 4, Blair’s campus is alive with school spirit and hijinx in preparation for the face-off against our greatest rivals. School day attire will look a bit different from the typical dress code throughout the week, and seniors will be caught up in a clever ruse of harmless pranks to delight and excite the hilltop, culminating in the traditional pep rally and bonfire on Peddie Eve. 

“This week is a favorite of so many in our community as we celebrate the culmination of fall athletics, friendship, competition and rites of passage that date back to 1903,” said Head of School Peter G. Curran P’27 ’27. “The relationship Blair and Peddie have enjoyed since then has been a quintessential part of the boarding school experience and continues to be a highlight of the fall season for all of us.”

Check below for the schedule of events and our athletics department hype video created by video specialist CJ Palanca to motivate Blair to BEAT PEDDIE!

Schedule of Theme Days & Events 

Spirit Week Monday
Spirit week Tuesday
Spirit Week Wednesday
Spirit Week Thursday
Spirit week Friday

Friday: Pep Rally & Bonfire, 7 p.m.

Saturday: Peddie Day!
10:30 a.m.     JV Girls' Tennis
11:30 a.m.     Varsity Field Hockey*
                      Varsity Girls’ Tennis
                      Varsity Boys’ Soccer*
                      JV Girls’ Soccer
12:00 p.m.     Cross Country
1:00 p.m.       JV Field Hockey
1:30 p.m.       Varsity Girls’ Soccer*
                      JV Boys’ Soccer
2:00 p.m.       Football*
                      *Events will be livestreamed

The Kelley-Potter Cup will be presented following the football game.

A group of students climb an obstacle at Orientation.

The air is crisp and the trees are ablaze with peak foliage on the hilltop. Autumn is in full swing at Blair Academy, which brings with it one of the School's most heartwarming traditions: Family Weekend.

“Every year, it is always such a pleasure to see how excited students are to share their Blair world with those they love most during Family Weekend,” said Associate Director of Advancement Susan Long, who plans and organizes the festivities with fellow advancement colleague Diane Kowalick. “Our focus is to make it an exciting program that gives families the opportunity to attend classes, athletic events and performances, as well as some meet-and-greet events that offer them the chance to get to know faculty outside the classroom.”

During a full weekend of events, Director of School Photography Tyson Trish captured the warm connections and special moments our families shared in the visual essay below.

family weekend painting
family weekend sansone
family weekend outside locke
family weekend front lawn chairs
family weekend fall colors
family weekend outside ivy
family weekend arch
family weekend pfg member
family weekend picnic
family weekend wolfe family
family weekend
family weekend painting leaves

For more photos of happenings across campus and beyond, please check out Blair Academy on Photoshelter, where we regularly post images.

They Promised Her the Moon Premieres

There are stories that need to be told. This is one of them. 

On April 9, 1959, NASA announced that seven Americans had been selected to fly a mission into space. Nicknamed the Mercury Seven, the group included John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Alan Shepherd and four other men who went on to define our perceptions of astronauts. But they weren’t the only ones. Thirteen women joined them, undergoing the same intensive battery of physical and psychological tests. One female aviator, Jerrie Cobb, surpassed her male colleagues on those fitness tests, finishing each of them first. She even held the 1959 world records for nonstop long-distance flight and the 1959 world light-plane speed record, but Jerrie Cobb was never afforded the opportunity to fly into space. 

Written by Laurel Ollstein, They Promised Her the Moon unearths the true story of this courageous female pioneer and her struggle against the barriers that kept her grounded.

This Thursday, the play takes center stage in the Wean Theatre as the Blair Academy Players present their first performance of the year. This production also marks the 30th year that veteran English teachers Craig Evans and Kaye Evans have directed a theatrical production at Blair. 

For Mr. Evans, with a wealth of experience as a theatre director, set designer and playwright, this particular piece holds a special place in his heart. The recommendation to stage this play came from a Blair alum, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics’ Director of Drama Adam Sampieri ’99, and Mr. Evans believes it is a story worth telling. “It’s still fun to tell good stories, and this is one of the best stories we’ve done.” Rarely do plays closely follow true events and They Promised Her the Moon tackles an important narrative in American history. It serves as a reminder, Mr. Evans says, “That we’ve come so far, and in some ways, still have so far to go.”  

Leilah Elkholy ’24 takes on the lead role of aviator Jerrie Cobb and acknowledges the challenges that the cast faced in preparing this production, including staging complex NASA backdrops and getting into the mind of female pioneers during an era when there were few. Despite this, the cast has poured their hearts and souls into creating an unforgettable experience for the audience. Leilah’s hope is that attendees will walk away with the knowledge to not underestimate others based on perceptions and stereotypes.

Mr. Evans looks forward to the premiere with this particular cast and crew, describing them as “dynamic.” He couldn’t have asked for a better group of actors to kick off this year’s theatre season. “I still find it rewarding to work with high school actors who learn to prioritize the cast over themselves, setting aside their egos for the greater good. The passion and talent of these actors promises an electrifying performance this week.”

Join the Blair Academy Players as they bring this extraordinary story to life on stage when They Promised Her the Moon premieres on October 26, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ Wean Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Requests may be emailed to Director Craig Evans at

A student shows off a piece she made with Blair's 3D printer.

One of the missions of Blair Academy is to champion the next generation of change-makers. The School invites students to explore new, creative and entrepreneurial pathways, as well as apply in-class academic lessons to real-world experiences. On campus, such applied and interdisciplinary work often takes place in the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration (CECIC), which houses art studios, technology classrooms, a recording studio and a maker space. Located at the heart of campus, the center offers students state-of-the-art tools that include laser engraving, dye sublimation printers and even “cobots,” collaborative robots that students routinely use to solve problems in this space. Programs designed to encourage career exploration and extended independent research projects, set in campus locations such as the maker space, encourage students to make connections and approach learning as a lifelong process with no boundaries.

“This is a room where we foster innovation,” said Eliza Link, fine arts teacher and Director of the Romano Gallery. Mrs. Link teaches ninth-grade seminar in the maker space, instructing new students on how to use each of the tools in the space. “The course is designed to scaffold students’ use of technology and creative problem-solving skills to help synthesize ideas in abundance.”

10 Things to Do in the Blair Maker Space

Brand Your Club 

club fair 2023 sustainability

With more than 40 active student clubs on campus, there is a place for everyone at Blair. Students have ample opportunities to sample new interests and push their boundaries, thanks to a wide array of clubs, ranging from the academic, artistic and avant-garde. Interested in forming a club? Many at Blair were created by current students who found like-minded classmates and faculty members who shared their interests. What better way to promote a club on campus than custom vinyl stickers? In the maker space, students can design, print and cut vinyl for transfer to walls, windows, banners and fabric on the vinyl cutter using a computer-controlled plotter.

Beat Peddie

sports fans peddie day

Each November, Blair’s fall sports teams face off against the Peddie School Falcons in one of the School’s most beloved traditions: Peddie Day. What began in 1903 and is now New Jersey’s oldest prep school football rivalry has evolved into a weeklong celebration of school spirit culminating in a “Peddie Eve” bonfire and pep rally. What better way to show Blair spirit than creating personalized swag for game day to cheer the Bucs on to victory? Using the flat heat press, students can create a design and transfer it onto a T-shirt or rally towel in the maker space, using the dye sublimation print system, which converts the ink to a gas when heated, making the design permanent and washable. Creativity and spirit will ensure the Bucs bring home the Kelly-Potter Cup next year.

Change the World

A student shows off a piece she made with Blair's 3D printer.

The potential of 3D printing is apparent in nearly every industry, from cars to fashion to healthcare. 3D printing has already been successfully used for cost-effective prosthetics, and last year, a Texas surgeon successfully implanted the first outer ear using the patient’s own cartilage cells and a bioprinter, according to an article by Fortune. As Blair prepares students for the future in these ever-changing industries, it is vital that they have hands-on experience in the cutting-edge technology and equipment that will drive their work.

In the maker space, Mrs. Link provides instruction on three 3D printers accessible in the space that engineer 3D parts using ABS or PLA plastic. Ever mindful of the impact of unnecessary plastic production, she encourages students to thoughtfully design and produce items with utility that can have a positive impact on the world. Knowledge and practice with 3D printers has real-world applications in countless industries Blair students will enter in their future education and careers.

Train a Robot 

robotic arm maker space

In the Real World Robotics class last year, students like maker space tech Jack Gerdsen ’23 had the opportunity to work with a robotic arm. The experience went beyond the technical mechanics of robotics and allowed students to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. During Jack’s first year at Blair, he programmed the xArm to track his own hand movement using a motion controller while other classmates applied it to videography, using the arm to create smooth camera movements. “They have software that is designed to be very user friendly, but there’s also more in-depth ways to program them,” Jack explained. “It’s great for precise fast movements, repeated motions for an assembly line, or very slow but consistent pattern.”

Save a Species 

bat houses j-term maker space

According to the National Park Service, more than half of the 145 species of North American bats are in need of conservation efforts. That need was the theme for physics teacher Chris Thatcher’s course during J-term last year, a 10-day immersive experience where students and teachers alike dive into a topic about which they are curious. In the maker space, students in the “Bats & Their Homes: Why & How to Build an Effective Bat House” got to work, researching what makes a successful bat home and learning the tools available in the space to get it done, including power and hand tools as well as CAD programming with the laser cutter. As a result, the class designed and built a dozen houses that were donated to a local wildlife conservancy as well as hung around campus.

Study Hard 

maker space kate sykes

Blair Academy has begun a transition to broaden the college-level work our students have access to and move beyond traditional Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The move, carefully researched by our faculty and administrators and supported by the eight-member college board that advises Blair, will increase the number of courses that deserve the credentialing of “advanced curriculum,” allowing students to increase their experiential learning and explore a depth of topics both in and outside of the classroom. 

As students prepare to enroll in these advanced course offerings for fall 2024, they will need tools to keep them engaged, organized and focused in their academic pursuits. The laser engraving system in the maker space can engrave, cut and mark all types of materials, including wood, acrylic, magnets and glass. The next time students open the textbook for their advanced survey course in economics, their custom bookmark with the etched inscription “You can do it!” may very well be the extra push needed to crush the upcoming test, and the custom magnetic calendar on the dorm fridge will tell them exactly how many days left to study. Empowering students to create and design is one of the many distinct ways Blair prepares them to be resilient, self-aware lifelong learners who go on to make meaningful contributions to their communities and the world.

Build a Friendship 

roommate bonding

Living in a dorm among peers and teachers from more than 28 countries teaches students to connect and relate to others of diverse backgrounds, develop cultural awareness and resolve conflicts—all tools that will help them successfully navigate life in college and beyond. Most boarding students at Blair live with a roommate, and dorm parents ensure dorms are spirited communities conducive to study but also fun places where residents can relax and engage with their classmates and teachers. The result is a supportive environment where lifelong friendships are forged.

In the maker space, those friendships can be commemorated. Roommates in the ninth-grade seminar can design matching mugs for their room or pencil holders for their desk; friends can celebrate their connection with a keepsake ceramic mug created with the round heat press. Much like the flat press, this dye sublimation printer can apply photos or text, but the round press allows transfer onto a rounded surface, like a ceramic mug or glass. 

jack gerdsen robotics

Solve a Real-World Problem

Unlike the standard 3D printers in the maker space, the 3D resin printer creates pieces far more detailed, accurate down to the micrometer. The process is not as simple, as Jack explains, but far more effective in cases where you need small, intricate parts with superbly high quality and detail, like robotics. “The process requires you to bathe the part in isopropyl alcohol and cure it by blasting the part with UV light in a special machine,” Jack said. Resin printers are a popular tool for game pieces, architectural designs, and dental and jewelry modeling. 

Support a Hypothesis 

Every spring, Blair’s student scientists share their research and projects at the School’s Science Poster Expo in the CECIC forum. The annual event mimics a professional scientific conference and showcases the work of all grade levels in a wide variety of science classes. Students work on their projects—some of which are signature assessments—for two to three weeks or longer before bringing them to life in the maker space with the use of the wide-format color printer. The technology allows students to create a visual representation of a year’s worth of research—up to 24 inches wide—to present their results to their teachers and classmates. 

science poster expo cecic

In classes like Foundations of Independent Science Research (ISR), student scientists use these posters to present their research proposals before the teachers and administrators on the ISR Committee, a process science department chair Kelly Hadden compares to a real-world research grant proposal. If selected, students will spend the next year in this one-and-a-half-year-long student-directed science research class conducting their independent research. The success of the ISR program at Blair became the basis for many of the Advanced Seminar courses faculty have developed in preparation for the transition away from AP to Blair’s Advanced Curriculum in fall 2024.

Preserve History 

3d printing makerspace

3D scanners have the ability to digitize a physical object to save, share and edit on a computer. They have real-world applications in a multitude of industries, creating prototypes, ensuring quality control and reverse engineering. Archaeologists use the technology to 3D scan artifacts and entire excavation sites, while museums can replicate and restore damaged items or recreate 3D art pieces for a more hands-on, immersive experience. Students at Blair can create a digital archive of their time on the hilltop or preserve pieces of Blair history since its founding in 1848 for the next generation of Bucs to enjoy.

Richard Gimbel Literary Magazine

The history of literary magazines at Blair Academy nearly dates back to the founding of the School itself. First published in 1884, the Blair Hall Literary Magazine was the predecessor of the more well-known student publication, the Blair Hall Breeze, which began in 1894. Fast-forward to the new millennium, and the hilltop hasn’t benefited from a student literary magazine since the last issue of Between the Lines was published in 2014 by Rachel Troy ’15. Fortunately for the humanities at Blair, Richard Gimbel ’24 is now captaining the ship, leading the way with Bowsprit.

“I’m deeply impressed by Richard’s work starting and sustaining Bowsprit,” English teacher and literary magazine advisor James Moore said. “Leading an endeavor like this, even though it involves a number of people, can be a lonely one; it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who cares. Richard has done a great job not only managing the project, but helping other people understand the value of a student literary magazine.”

As editor in chief, Richard published the first issue of Bowsprit in fall 2022, offering a creative outlet for students to express themselves at Blair. He selected the nautical-themed title—a bowsprit is a large spar projecting forward from a sailing ship—as both a nod to Blair’s Buccaneer mascot and as a metaphor for a point leading the School into a brighter day. The literary magazine comprises photography, artwork, poetry and short stories from a diverse group of Blair students. 

“I saw a niche not being filled—we have skilled students in English and humanities at Blair—I knew that sitting around wasn’t going to solve the issue, so I decided to fix the problem myself by giving our intellectual community a creative outlet,” Richard explained.

He admits the first issue was a “cowboy operation,” wrangling students around campus for submissions and repurposing pieces from The Oracle. With help from Mr. Moore, who reached out to other English department teachers for student recommendations, the current issue was easier to assemble after the prestige and recognition garnered from the inaugural Bowsprit. “I think the biggest challenge is in managing my own perspective as an editor,” Richard shared. “It requires stepping out of myself to judge things objectively and taking in lots of different voices of students from all different backgrounds and ideas.”

After releasing the current issue last week, Richard plans to take a step back from the next publication in spring 2024, relying on other editors and writers he has mentored to fill his shoes as he graduates from the hilltop. He is optimistic about Bowsprit’s future and his legacy, believing it will continue on as a twice-yearly publication. Richard is hopeful the literary magazine will remain in print rather than online as well, appreciative of the concept of being able to hold the physical manifestation of his work in his own hands.

For students nervous to submit work, Richard offers sage advice: “It’s difficult and brave for contributors to put their work out for display, but the amount of respect and pride I’ve seen on their faces in seeing it has been heartwarming.” If any students are interested in contributing work for the next edition of Bowsprit, they can send Richard an email.