Traditions

Creating memories, one experience at a time.

PCDS values its community traditions, across grades, generations, and experiences. Through shared experiences and genuine engagement with one another, our students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni recognize that PCDS is more than a school: it’s family.


First Friday

Each August, the entire PCDS student body gathers at the end of the first week of school to reconnect and look forward with excitement for the experiences to come during the coming months.  Seniors escort their kindergarten buddies into the assembly, and a special welcome to the youngest PCDS students, the Pre-Kindergarteners, highlight the community experience that sets the tone for the school year.

Blue & Gold

Our version of homecoming— the annual Blue & Gold celebration welcomes back to campus scores of alumni spread far and wide with a fun, all-school carnival atmosphere.  After cheering on the varsity volleyball team’s match, all students, families, and alumni gather for food, carnival rides, and games, capped off by a mesmerizing fireworks display.

Blue & Gold 2019 details... 

Senior Speeches

What’s your message?  Each year, every PCDS senior delivers a 7-10 minute speech on a topic of his or her choice to the entire Upper School student and faculty body.  The students look within themselves and incorporate appropriate research to share their message with the community.  Eliciting at times both laughs to tears, students share personal experiences or tackle important topics to inform, persuade, and enlighten the world around them.

Lower School Swim Exhibition

A hallmark experience for Lower School students is the variety of “specials” they engage in beyond their homerooms.  One class, Physical Education, has students in the pool working on their swimming strokes, work ethic, and physical health during the first months of school.  At the end of the swimming unit, parents are invited to attend the Lower School Swim Exhibition to see all the hard work pay off!  Friendly competition and a sense of accomplishment abound during this event!

40th Street Jazz Club

Let’s bring the spirit of New Orleans to the deserts of Arizona!  The 40th Street Jazz Club is an annual performance by our Middle and Upper School Jazz Bands, often welcoming accomplished professional guest musicians for accompaniment, that showcases students “chops” for music, improvisation, and creativity.  Every performance is memorable, and cannot be missed!

Upper School Fall Play & Spring Musical

All PCDS students develop their voice in and out of the classroom, and many choose to showcase their skills through our annual theater productions.  Each fall, Upper School thespians perform a dramatic play, while each spring, Upper and Middle School students work together on a family-friendly musical.  “Theater kids” work beside novices, and public speaking, empathy, and artistic skills are showcased to the masses in these memorable productions.

Grandparents & Special Friends Day

Each spring, our Lower School students welcome their grandparents and special guests to experience a lively concert, followed by classroom visits where students are able to showcase what they’ve learned or been working on at PCDS.  The pride in learning and opportunity to share their sincere thanks to their families is evident on every young student’s face during this special day.

Alumni Holiday Party

No matter how far our alumni may venture, these Eagles always return to the nest.  Each December, PCDS alumni gather for an annual holiday party as a chance to reconnect, meet new generations of young alumni, and share stories of their glory days on campus.  We are immensely proud of the many accomplishments of all of our PCDS graduates! 

Bridge-the-Gap

Our annual adults-only gala celebrates philanthropy in the PCDS community, with a special nod to the integral support of the PCDS Annual Fund.  This free event is open to all PCDS parents, faculty, staff, and alumni, and features music, dancing, a silent auction with many unique items across a variety of price ranges, and much PCDS spirit!  Bridge-the-Gap is a strong demonstration of the importance of parent support at PCDS, and is our way of thanking all PCDS families for supporting the Annual Fund.

Alumni Hall of Fame

Each spring as a part of Alumni Spring Weekend, PCDS Athletics and Alumni Relations welcome back a special group of alumni to be enshrined on campus:  accomplished teams and individual athletes and coaches that made their mark on the PCDS Eagles athletic program.  Inductees include former state championship teams to individual athletes who’s accomplishments and sportsmanship rose above the rest.  This event allows our alumni to share their athletic stories and demonstrate to our current student-athletes the many ways in which the athletic lessons learned at PCDS are applied to successful lives beyond graduation. 

Arts Walk

Each spring, the entire PCDS campus becomes an exhibition of the visual, performing, and digital arts of all students, grades Pre-K through 12.  Hear the Lower School choir perform, or walk among the many visual art creations of Middle School students.  Laugh with the Upper School student-written and directed One-Act Plays and engage in the many digital media creations of our oldest students in the Shin Center for Art, Science & Innovation.  From serious artists to students simply trying their hand at a new craft, Arts Walk showcases a wide variety of passions and talents!

Lower School End-of-Year Ceremony

During closing week each June, the Lower School says goodbye to its eldest students, the Fourth Grade, with a special ceremony sending them off to the Middle School for the fall.  Fourth graders each share a unique memory of their Lower School experience, followed by receipt of certificates and many hugs from friends and teachers.

Mud Mania

What better way to finish the Kindergarten school year than to jump in some mud!  Each last day of school, the Kindergartners pack their swimsuits, goggles, and smiles to splash on campus in a gigantic mud pool!  Mud Mania exemplifies one of the key tenets of the Kindergarten school year— it’s important to have FUN!

8th Grade Commencement

At the end of an incredible school year, the Middle School celebrates Commencement for the Eighth Grade each June, wishing its students well as they journey “across the bridge” to the PCDS Upper School in the fall.  With minds full of knowledge and hearts brimming with memories of the Catalina Island trip and many other seminal Middle School experiences, Middle School Head Ben Sullivan and Head of School Andrew Rodin shake each eighth grader’s hand as they cross the stage and become Upper School students for the first time.

Upper School Graduation

A magical evening and the culmination of the PCDS experience, nothing compares to PCDS Graduation.  From its start when the graduating class is led across Daley Bridge by members of the PCDS Golden Circle (graduates who have celebrated their 50th PCDS reunion), to the emotional hugs and tears shared when seniors are greeted by every PCDS faculty member on the bridge during the procession, to the thoughtful and impactful student speeches to the crowd of family, friends, faculty and alumni on Founder’s Lawn, PCDS Graduation is an unforgettable moment in these students’ lives.  While it may be the last time these students gather together as an entire group before leaving to colleges far and wide, Graduation exemplifies what makes PCDS so special— a community of known individuals, bonded wherever their lives may take them. 

Mud Mania

What better way to finish the Kindergarten school year than to jump in some mud! Each last day of school, the Kindergartners pack their swimsuits, goggles, and smiles to splash on campus in a gigantic mud pool! Mud Mania exemplifies one of the key tenets of the Kindergarten school year— it’s important to have FUN!

What better to finish Kindergarten than to jump in some mud!
"I love the school spirit everyone shows around Blue & Gold Day and the sporting events!" – Raquel, Class of 2018

Graduation

A magical evening and the culmination of the PCDS experience, nothing compares to PCDS Graduation. From its start when the graduating class is led across Daley Bridge by members of the PCDS Golden Circle (graduates who have celebrated their 50th PCDS reunion), to the emotional hugs and tears shared when seniors are greeted by every PCDS faculty member on the bridge during the procession, to the thoughtful and impactful student speeches to the crowd of family, friends, faculty and alumni on Founder’s Lawn, PCDS Graduation is an unforgettable moment in these students’ lives.

A magical evening and the culmination of the PCDS experience, nothing compares to PCDS Graduation.