Head’s Holiday Gives Students a Welcome Break


No school, no afternoon actives, and a time to rest and relax with friends. What’s better than that?

Every winter, rumblings about a “Head’s Holiday” consume campus as students wait eagerly for the email from Head of School Bob Hill. Many students try tirelessly to find out the day off prior to the announcement, although these attempts often fall short.

Although “”Head’s Holidays” only began at Williston when Hill became Head of School in 2010. Many boarding schools across New England also enjoy the surprise day off.

This year, rumors spread around campus, as many students believed they had discovered the beloved day off. The days leading up to the believed day, a “Head’s Holiday” was one of the only things people could talk about.

Sent out on Jan 19 in his daily newsletter to the school known as “Luke’s Latest,” senior Luke Ballard instigated more chatter as he wrote “All in favor of a heads holiday in the near future say I…”

Luke a day student from Belchertown, Mass., did not realize his statement would cause so much chaos.

“I honestly didn’t expect my statement to gain much traction through my email, but it did to my surprise. I had an insane amount of people ask me about it and tell other people which started a mass hysteria,” he explained. “People started spreading a rumor that it would be Friday the 20th which made people even crazier. It was really interesting to see how easy it was to sway the entire school into wanting something. It was funny but also a little scary in a way.”

Although the day often seems sporadic, Hill acknowledged that much more planning goes into these days than most think.

“Despite the rumor that I just wave a magic wand when the spirit moves me, we actually try to do some planning around surprise holidays, which is why they are so hard to keep a total surprise,” he explained.

Despite having the day off some Williston students were a little disappointed that there was so much talk leading up to the day.

Mia Grady, a four-year senior from Hong Kong, explained that this year’s “Head’s Holiday” felt very different than previous ones.

“Because so many people had been talking about it most people just expected it to happen. I know a lot of people got worried when study hall started on Sunday night, and we still had not gotten an email,” Mia said. “In past year the surprise and excitement people in the dorm got when Mr. Hill would send out his email filled the hallways with cheers. This year people were more relieved than excited, but EMV was still very happy when the email was sent out during break.”

When the email was sent out to all students at 9 p.m. on Sunday night (Jan. 22), students from every dorm filled both the main quad and the residential quad to let out their excitement. Students spent the next hour playing outside in the snow building snow men and even have snowball fights between dorms.

Regardless of many guessing the day before it was announced, both students and teachers around campus enjoyed the much-needed day off.

Hill explained that these are day that are meant for “teachers and students to get a bit of a rest, catch up on things that they might need to, and enjoy a much-deserved break in the routine.”

Gus Brown, a boarder from Peapack, New Jersey, spent her day exactly as Hill expected.

“I spent my Heads Holiday mostly catching up on sleep, hanging out with my friends, and cleaning my room.” she explained.

As a part of the administration Nikki Chambers, Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, still had to come into work this past Monday.

“Heads Holidays are not about me or admin,” Chambers said. “It was about giving students and teachers a day of rest.”

Similarly, Kate Garrity, Associate Dean of Students, explained that her day ended up being busier than most.

“I had a 9 a.m. DMV appointment as well as one of my kids home from school for a snow day,” she said. “I also was at brunch helping check students in and went to swim practice in the afternoon.”

Looking forward to the rest of the year many wonder if there will be another Head’s Holiday. Hill responded with one of the most famous examples of plausible deniability: “That feels like a leading questions, so I will just say that’s one of those known, unknowns.”