Seniors Celebrate a Masked and Socially Distanced Wildflower Stomp


Photo by Jessica Herlitz

Seniors during the senior breakfast before the Homecoming football game later that evening.

Emma Hoffman

Seniors participated in a COVID-era version of the annual Wildflower Stomp on Nov. 6 in remembrance of long-time faculty member Estelle Dickens.

Prior to the event, members of the graduating Class of 2021 enjoyed a socially distanced brunch with their friends. Afterward, they headed over to the Estelle Dickens Loop, near the Lower School, for the stomping festivities.

In the past, students from primer, fourth and eighth grades participated in the event with the seniors as part of campus Heart of the Hill (HoH) activities.  Due to COVID-19, the younger students did not participate in this year’s stomping tradition, but they did contribute to the event in a new and different way: by decorating the sidewalk with chalk, leaving sweet farewell messages for the seniors in their Heart of the Hill groups.

“There were a lot of happy eyes that I saw down there today with their masks on,” Assistant Head of School Tom Perryman said. “There was just a lot of good energy, that the seniors felt celebrated because they had just had the senior brunch and they had walked through all the sidewalk chalk celebration.”

As the seniors arrived to begin the stomp, they were greeted with another surprise:  the presentation of  senior sweatshirts, which was incorporated into the event to bring some extra cheer.

“We also got our senior sweatshirts and that was always something I’ve looked forward to,” said senior Sarah Luan.

The seniors later learned a bit of history about wildflower stomping. Planting wildflower seeds is a process different from planting regular flowers. With wildflowers, they must be stomped on and smashed into the ground to flourish.

The Greenhill stomp has a double meaning: to honor Dickens and to expel all the year’s frustrations. And 2020 has had plenty of those.

Despite the pandemic restrictions, seniors said they enjoyed their day.

“I think today was really fun and I’m so happy that we’re still able to keep some senior traditions alive, even in these weird circumstances,” Luan said. “I know they had to organize our event a little differently today, but it was nice to see the chalk designs that the kids from our HoH groups drew for us.”