Every winter, Peddie students look forward to Headmaster’s Holiday and speculate when it will fall. While keeping it a surprise for students, Headmaster Peter Quinn and a couple of other faculty members typically select the date up to seven weeks in advance. This year, however, the day was decided on only a week in advance. Headmaster’s Holiday lies traditionally before the senior thesis is due and far from other breaks. Quinn explained that this is done deliberately to give the seniors a chance to catch up on their work. Though it has often been announced during Monday chapel, Quinn said that over the years it has been announced during community meeting, through a pre-recorded video shown in chapel, and on the Peddie News website.
While the day itself may be fun for students, Quinn said his excitement stems from deciding “how it’s going to be announced.”
Quinn said that when he first arrived at Peddie, there was no Headmaster’s Holiday. The first one was started by Headmaster Tom DeGray. He also stated that “the first few of them were completely spontaneous,” it used to be that “everyone did the same thing together that afternoon, and then the next day was more casual.”
However, “it [has] been a long time since we’ve tried to get everybody to do one thing together,”Quinn said. Quinn explained that the holiday has evolved over course of the years. For instance, the initial spontaneity was inconvenient for faculty in the Admissions and Athletics departments who needed more warning. Now, the administration tries to pick the date far enough in advance to not disrupt external events while striving to keep it as secretive as possible.
Furthermore, Quinn added that while he and a few others usually know the date weeks in advance, Peddie Food Services and Student Activities Leaders are only informed a few days in advance.
“I think the benefit is that it’s a cool surprise,” said Quinn when asked about the advantages of Headmasters Holiday. “Because the faculty doesn’t know, it does have the potential for saving some people from an academic fate they didn’t want to go through.”
He explained that the holiday is helpful for students in different ways. Some may use it to catch up on work, sleep, or just enjoy the surprise.